Contenders ready

Hearts_v_RangersJim Jefferies has urged his players to use their next two games to show Rangers and Celtic they are ready to be considered as serious challengers to the duopoly the Old Firm enjoy. Jefferies praised his side after their  over Kilmarnock at Rugby Park extended their unbeaten league run  to 10 games. Killie were ahead at half-time thanks to a goal from Portuguese striker Rui Miguel, but a second-half double from substitute Stephen Elliott - on at half-time for Arvydas Novikovas - meant the game ended 2-1 to the visitors and kept the Jambos five points behind Rangers and within seven of SPL leaders Celtic. Hearts have, however, played one more game than Rangers and one less than Celtic. Jefferies now has his sights set on Saturday's home game against Rangers, who also moved closer to Celtic with a 1-0 home win over Inverness.

He said: "Apart from the game against Celtic we have won every league game away from home. That is a tremendous record and it has put us further away from the team chasing us (Kilmarnock) and we have a game in hand over them. So it gives us a cushion going into the game against Rangers and we have the chance to show if we have what it takes to put in a challenge, because we are going into it on a high. I will leave it up to the media to say if we can make a challenge, we will just keep trying to do it on the pitch. I told the players that there's no point in talking about it. Plenty of teams in the past have talked about it and never stood up to the plate and that is the challenge for any club. We are in that position at the moment, it's up to us and I'm sure we will get wonderful backing on Saturday."