KRIS BOYD reckons Hearts will be under a totally different pressure this season as they challenge Rangers for the Championship title.

The striker squared up to the Tynecastle club in the Premiership last term as he fired Kilmarnock to top-flight safety and Gary Locke's side were relegated in the midst of financial meltdown in Gorgie.

Now, under the guidance of first-team coach Robbie Neilson, the Jambos are eyeing an immediate return to the Premiership, but will have to battle the Gers and Capital rivals Hibernian for the Championship crown.

A lack of experience cost Hearts on a number of occasions last term, but they finished the campaign in good form having earned 38 points.

Neilson's side head to Ibrox on Sunday for the first league game of the season as they get set to launch their own bid for the second tier title.

Boyd said: "The Hearts team we played at the start of the season to the one we finished against was totally different. But they are under a different pressure this year. Last year everybody thought, and knew, they were going down.

"This year they are going to be expected to win games so it is up to them how they face that challenge."

Boyd added: "We want to be back there challenging Celtic and winning leagues again."