Shaun Maloney’s Hibs sacking takes Robbie Neilson by surprise as Hearts boss tips him to come back stronger

Robbie Neilson admits he was surprised by Shaun Maloney’s exit from Hibs.

But the Hearts gaffer insists it just underlines the high-octane pressures of the game at the top and the relentless demands for success.

He knows the expectancy in Edinburgh at Tynecastle. In the past fortnight Neilson has been able to savor double derby success to have one side of the city celebrating.

But the defeats were the final acts for Maloney at Hibs as he was sacked after just four months.

Neilson said: “To be honest I was surprised. On a personal note I was disappointed for Shaun because I know him pretty well. I spoke to him a few times when I was Dundee United manager and he’s a really good coach. But it’s the nature of the beast now.

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“He got very limited time to do anything, the chairman makes a decision and you just have to take it on the chin.

“But I’m sure he’ll come back and be stronger. I was the same at MK Dons when I was let go. It can hurt for a while but it definitely makes you a better coach.”

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Long-term planning is key for clubs but Neilson knows the instant demands don’t always allow for precious time to be afforded.

The boss and his Jambos side are flying at the moment but he knows there can be no let up ahead of Sunday’s trip to Dundee United.

Neilson said: “I keep saying to them it doesn’t matter what you’ve done, you need to win.

“You don’t and it’s the end of the world again. Then you need to win the next Saturday and the next.

“That’s just the nature of football now. You can’t have a two or three-week period where you think, ‘Ah that’s all right, we’ve done our work.’

Neilson insists his side can’t think the job is done when they return to league duty

“Yes we have done great but we need to win at Tannadice. We may take two or three or 4000 fans up there and they expect us to win.

“Football is about two sides. It’s about long-term planning and it’s got to win on Saturday.

“My job is to win on Saturday but the people above me, their job is to look at the long-term structure as well.

“When that long-term becomes short-term it becomes difficult. It’s a longer-term plan here.
Even the qualification for Europe isn’t just, ‘That’s us, we’ve done it.’

“It’s, ‘What can we do in three years’ time? Five years’ time?’ And try to grow the club. So a lot of the time it comes back to what you do on a Saturday.

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“We have to continue winning matches. We’ve had a meeting with the players and in the last five games we’re playing against two teams who are challenging for the title and three teams that are trying to get the European spot behind us.

“When you’re at Hearts you need to win every game. That doesn’t change if you’re 10th in the league or first.

“They have the pressure of being in the team for the Scottish Cup Final so it’s really important that they focus on just now and don’t think too far ahead.”

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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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