Robbie Neilson offers no Hearts defense as he demands ropey rearguard must be ‘miles better’

Raging Robbie Neilson slammed his complacent Hearts backline for gifting Dundee a precious win.

The Jambos boss reckoned his side was in total control after striking first at Tynecastle through Ellis Simms’ second goal for the club.

But it was a different story after the break as the Gorgie side were caught cold inside six minutes of the change of ends, with Danny Mullen’s strike bouncing off Toby Sibbick on its way into Craig Gordon’s goal.

And they were on their heels again with 11 minutes left as Mullen pounced again for a huge victory which moves them off bottom spot.

But Neilson – who saw his side ship five at Ibrox on Sunday – was again unhappy with the way his Hearts defense performed.

Asked how frustrated he was to see his side fail to win for the fourth game out of five, he said: “Very. We played very well in the first half. Created loads of good chances and were totally in control.

“But we didn’t take these chances and started to get a bit over complacent.

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“We didn’t do what we’d been doing in the first half.

“Second half we were too static with our play. It was all side to side and not enough penetration.

“But we need to do better.

“My biggest frustration with tonight to be honest was defensively. I thought we were very poor at the two goals.

“For the first goal we let a midfield runner run off us, which isn’t good enough.

“Then for the second we don’t deal with it at the back post. That’s basic football.

“We’ve had a brilliant defensive record recently. But at this moment in time we’ve not and we need to get back to that.

“At our end of the park we should be miles better.”

Hearts remain 10 points clear in third and Neilson insists there’s no need to worry yet.

“I don’t think it should come back and bite us to be honest with you,” he said.

“We’re going to have wee periods like this where we don’t get what we want but we need to try and get back on the horse as quickly as we can.”

Delighted Dundee boss James McPake was overjoyed as his won their first league game in 10.

The Dens boss praised goal hero Mullen but also absolved new keeper Ian Lawlor after the Englishman allowed Ellis’ 21st-minute strike to squeeze through his grasp.

He said: “I’m thrilled with the three points, the attitude, the determination, the fight they showed.

“We conceded what to me is a poor goal and we will look back at that.

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“But it’s hard to be critical tonight.

“Danny’s claiming both goals. I thought he and Zak Rudden were brilliant.

“John Souttar is one of the best defenders in this league, hence the reason he’s signed a pre-contract with Rangers, but I thought those two gave their back three a lot of problems.

“Ian was brilliant. He had a little slip early but it didn’t face him. He was excellent.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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