ROBBIE NEILSON insists his Hearts side won't be fazed by their daunting start to the new Championship campaign.
The Jambos head to Ibrox to face title favourites Rangers on the opening day of the season next month before hosting Hibs in the first second-tier derby clash the following week.
It is a mouth-watering way to kick-off what will be Scotland's most exciting division next term as Neilson's side, the Gers and their Easter Road rivals get set to battle it out for a place in the SPFL Premiership.
The Ibrox clash on August 9 will be Neilson's first match as boss and the former Jambos defender is determined to relish the occasion.
"I'm delighted with the fixtures - it's a great start for us," he said. "Right at the start we have high quality matches and they give us the chance to lay down a marker for the rest of the season.
"To be honest, it doesn't matter who you get in the first two games of the season, they are just as important as any other. But, having Rangers and Hibs in the first two adds a little bit more to it as we know they are great games to be involved in.
"All the players will be desperate to be involved in them so they will have to work hard and be prepared in pre-season.
"It will be a great introduction to Scottish football for the new players and what a start to their Hearts careers with two full houses to play in front of."
Neilson has already made his first signings and, with Hearts expected to challenge for promotion, the 33-year-old said: "On a personal level, it's a great start for me to be in charge for the first time in matches of this calibre."