Webster Aiming for Top Six

  • Last Updated: March 28 2012, 17:57 BST

Andy Webster believes Europe should be the aim for Hearts in the remaining seven games of the SPL season as they face Aberdeen this weekend.

Webster: Aiming for European spot

Hearts lost 2-1 at St Johnstone on Saturday, meaning their place in the top half of the table is still not mathematically secure two games ahead of the SPL split.

Manager Paulo Sergio has said top six would be a success given the travails at Tynecastle this term, but Webster has higher aims.

Sixth-placed Hearts hold a five-point lead and a superior goal difference over seventh-placed Kilmarnock and a point against the Dons should be enough to secure their place, no matter Killie's result at St Mirren. Hearts then play relegation-threatened Dunfermline before the split.

"That (top six) is our priority at the minute," said Webster, whose side trail Dundee United and St Johnstone in the race for fourth place.

"The home game against Aberdeen on Saturday is very important for us - hopefully we can win that one.

"Away to Dunfermline's going to be another tricky one. They're fighting relegation, it's going to be extremely difficult, but they are two games we're more than capable of winning.

"From a player's point of view, top six is probably the bare minimum, with the size of the club and the players we've got - we should definitely be looking higher up.

"We're more than capable of beating anybody. If we get on a good run between now and the end of the season we can progress up the league."

Hearts' form has been indifferent of late and they last won back to back SPL matches in January, while Aberdeen travel to the capital after seeing their 13-game unbeaten run ended by successive losses to Motherwell and Inverness.

Webster, who was today promoting the club's players' player of the year, is keen for Hearts to finish the season with a flourish.

He added: "There's definitely room for improvement. There's a wee bit to go yet, so hopefully over the remaining games of the season we can show a good bit of form and a level of consistency."

It has been a turbulent campaign at Tynecastle, with Jim Jefferies beginning the season as boss and Paulo Sergio installed as his successor in August.

Three straight months of delayed player wages prompted an official complaint from the players, via union PFA Scotland, to the Scottish Premier League, but action was averted in January after Hearts met the demands imposed.

However, the issue reared its ugly head again this month and today the players and staff received their March salaries 12 days late.

Hearts are set to cut their costs in the summer and a glimmer of the potential was given at St Johnstone on Saturday.

Webster has faith in the youth at Hearts' disposal.

"Some of the guys have got real potential," he added.

"On Saturday, away to St Johnstone, is an extremely tough game, but the manager has confidence in the younger players.

"It doesn't matter how old you are, ability-wise if you're good enough, you're old enough.

"Jason Holt showed that on Saturday, highlighted by the fact he scored a goal as well."