The Tynecastle manager was responding to comments from Hibs owner Ron Gordon, who has underlined his dissatisfaction with the authorities for allowing the fixture to be scheduled for round two of the league programme.
Gordon complained that the timing effectively devalued the clash and made “zero” business sense.
It is Hibs’ first home league game of the season and Gordon argued that there would have been a big crowd regardless of who they were playing.
Neilson, however, is savouring the prospect. “The sooner the better,” he said. The Hearts manager is looking to build on an opening day win against Ross County while securing a significant boost before upcoming European commitments.
“I think it’s great, to be honest,” said Neilson. “You want to get a derby, to win this, to get some momentum. If we win this on Sunday, it sets us up well for the coming games as well, so the sooner the better I think.”
“I quite like them coming early in the season. In my experience they usually come early,” he added. “It gives you a target in pre-season, you build up to it as it is early in the campaign.
“It gets it over with, you want to build momentum, there’s nothing better than winning it. You want to get your first win of the season, and we have both done that. If you win the derby it gives you that push.”