Robbie Neilson shrugs off Hearts ‘comfort zone’ concerns as he declares pressure is always on at Tynecastle

Robbie Neilson admits the pressure is on Hearts after their Ibrox annihilation.

But the Jambos boss insists it’s not any greater than it was before they were ripped apart by a rampant Rangers side.

The Gorgie men are sitting safely in third, with a 10-point lead over Motherwell, despite Sunday’s 5-0 pasting.

But lagging 14 points behind second-place Rangers, they won’t be troubling the top two either.

The likelihood is that Hearts will be able to float along nicely to May and still find themselves booking a European slot.

But Neilson knows the Tynecastle support won’t let them enjoy the ride if they hit the skids again tonight against Dundee.

He said: “We were disappointed with the result on Sunday, I thought there was a 20 minute period where we fell apart, which was the biggest disappointment.

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“We lost four goals in 20 minutes and prior to that we had a number of chances that if we take them and probably should then it’s a different outcome.

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“Yes, we’re disappointed with the result but we don’t want to get too despondent because of how well the players have done this season.

“You can’t get too up or down, the team has done very well, we’re sitting in third position and we need to try and cement that position then get a good cup run. The next two games against Dundee and Livingston in the Scottish Cup are very important to that.

“You saw the reaction after we got beat by Rangers, we’re expected to win every single game. We play Dundee and the pressure is to win it. If we can do that the pressure is to beat Livingston on Saturday.

“I don’t think when you play with Hearts you are ever in a comfort zone.”

Neilson has had to stare down his usual critics in the wake of the painful loss to Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side.

There are punters who still believe Hearts should be doing more in clashes against the Old Firm.

In fairness to Neilson, his side have already shot down Celtic this term and took a point on their previous trip to Govan.

But he’s not shying away from just how awful the weekend result was.

He said: “We’ve had a great season so far and had one bad performance, prior to that we played pretty well in the previous weeks and we have to get back on it again.

“We shouldn’t be going there and losing that many goals. Sometimes you have to take that into consideration. It was a bad performance but we need to move on to the next one.

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“We want to finish as high up the league as we can then on Saturday, we want to try and win the Scottish Cup, we want to try and get to the final or as far as we can get and it’s important we do that.
“It’s been a busy period for us, coming back we will be something like eight games in 26 days so it’s back to back games.

“We may have good games and bad games and when we lose a game we need to make sure we get back on it and to the players credit we’ve done that this year.

“It’s football, you’re going to lose football matches, it’s how you react to it. Parts of the performance we were very disappointed in but we have to move on.”

Neilson will still be missing Craig Halkett and Michael Smith for the visit of James McPake’s Dens Park outfit tonight but expects to have John Souttar back available after the Rangers pre-contract recruit sat out Sunday’s showdown with the side he joins in the summer.

The Dark Blues remain rooted to the bottom of the table after extending their Premiership run of woe to nine games without a win.

Neilson, however, is still wary of Dundee, saying: “It will be tough. When you look at the squad they’ve got, it’s a strong squad and very experienced.

“They’ve brought in Niall McGinn, they brought in Zak Rudden who has been doing very well in the Championship.

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“In the midfield they have Charlie Adam in there, the games against them this season have been tight, similar to most of the games this year.”

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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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