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Hearts manager Robbie Neilson believes the visit of the champions is the ideal antidote to a difficult run of form.

Cinch Premiership leaders Celtic visit Tynecastle on Saturday on the back of hitting 10 goals in two matches while injury-hit Hearts have conceded 16 goals during a five-game run without victory.

However, a free midweek and a high-profile game was just what Neilson wanted after Sunday’s 2-0 defeat at Aberdeen.

“If you asked me for a game to play in after a difficult result last week, then this is the one you would want,” he said.

“You want to play at home, you want to play against one of the big teams in the league, so we can go all guns blazing and try to win the game.

“This is the first week we have had for a long time where we haven’t had a midweek game. So it has allowed us to train properly and prepare properly and get a few players back.”

Andy Halliday, Michael Smith and Josh Ginnelly were back training with the squad after knocks and could feature against Celtic.

“We should have a couple back for the weekend,” Neilson said. “We are starting to slowly get there with them. We expect a few more in the coming weeks as well, which is great.

“The only one is Peter Haring who got concussion last weekend. Following the protocols, he will miss the game on Saturday, which is a disappointment.

“But we managed to get a couple back. I will keep that under wraps just now.”