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Sunday, 12 April 2009 14:34

Bruno Aguiar: “We can challenge Old Firm next season!”

Hearts 1-1 Celtic

AguiarHearts midfielder Bruno Aguiar insists his side can challenge Celtic and Rangers for the Scottish title next season, after his superb free-kick earned the Jambos a point against the champions on Saturday.

The Edinburgh club fell behind to a first-minute goal from Celtic striker Jan Vennegor of Hesselink at Tynecastle, but former Benfica midfielder Aguiar levelled for his side just after the half hour mark with a well-taken set-piece.

"We deserved to win but again we've lost an early goal,” Aguiar said after the match. “It was a terrible start - but the most important thing was the reaction shown by the team. This squad has great character and after Celtic's goal we played some fantastic football and dominated the match.

"We've lost a lot of early goals but I can't work out the reason for this. All I know is it seems to make us play better. We'll speak about it and try to stop it happening.

"I'm very happy with my goal and it felt great to see the ball hit the net."

The result sees Hearts stay in third place, seventeen points behind Rangers and a further point back on leaders Celtic. Although too late for a title challenge, Aguiar believes Hearts’ performance against the champions is further evidence that they can compete for the SPL next season.

"A draw with Celtic isn't so bad because they are top of the league but we still feel we should have won. We've taken points off Rangers and Celtic now and that shows we can challenge them at the top next season. It can happen for us.

"The Old Firm have lost a lot of points this season but maybe it was too early for us to challenge.

"We had a new coach in the summer and it's normal for there to be a lot of changes.

"Over the last five months though we've played really well. This year we didn't really have a chance to compete with Celtic and Rangers - but next season will be different.”

By Sean Gillen

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