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Playing at Ibrox never held a fear factor for Robbie Neilson

Robbie Neilson, the Hearts head coach, is adamant there will be no fear factor for his side at a packed Ibrox on Sunday and insisted that playing in front of crowds of 200 offers more pressure than a trip to face Rangers.

The Tynecastle side's opening Championship fixture of the season will provide a stern test of their title credentials as they travel to play Rangers, the bookmakers' favourites to run away with the league. However, Neilson has acknowledged that his young side will not shirk away from the challenge of silencing the home support at Ibrox.

Indeed, drawing on his own experience of trips to Ibrox during his 13 years as a Hearts player, the former full-back believes his players will find it easier to hit top form on Sunday than they would amid more modest surroundings.

"I don't think there was ever a fear factor about going to Ibrox," said Neilson. "I used to enjoy going there. I think the majority of players do. It is a nice pitch, nice environment and good stadium to play football.

"Any player coming through at any age and level wants to play at the best venues with the biggest crowds. From my point of view, I never felt any added pressure.

"The big pressure for me was when you went to the lesser grounds, the places where you turned up and there were 200 to 300 people there. You needed to make sure you performed.

"When you go and play in front of 300 people you don't have that adrenaline rush when you walk out, but at Ibrox there are 50,000 people there and you can guarantee your focus is there right away. I think our players feel that way, too; everyone is talking about it. As soon as the fixtures came out the press were talking about how we go to Ibrox first game."

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