Falkirk come first, Hearts boss tells players

Robbie Neilson
Robbie Neilson
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Hearts have been warned not to take their eye off the ball against Falkirk today, with head coach Robbie Neilson stressing his players must banish all thoughts of Rangers next week.

The Ibrox club arrive at Tynecastle next Saturday lunchtime for a top-of-the-table Championship meeting. However, Neilson insisted Hearts’ most pressing assignment is this evening’s 5.30pm kick-off at the Falkirk Stadium.

The Edinburgh club are eager to increase their unbeaten league run to 13 matches ahead of the visit by Rangers. Although they have not been as swashbuckling in recent weeks, Neilson is confident of maintaining momentum and said his players remain in good spirits.

“The Falkirk game is just as important as any. We need to make sure we get maximum points from that to set us up for the Rangers game coming up,” he told the Evening News. “The mood has been great, very positive. The guys are working really hard every day and the training this week has been excellent.

“The performances have been fine recently. People have said they aren’t as good as they were at the start of the season but teams now are coming to Tynecastle and, if they get away with a 1-0 defeat, they’re happy. That’s the way it felt with Raith Rovers. Usually, when you go 1-0 up against a team, they look to come out and the game opens up. At 1-0, they seemed quite happy just to sit in and take it. That’s been difficult for us because it’s hard to break these teams down.”

Hearts are working on adapting their playing style to different scenarios. “We can do different things and play the game a wee bit differently,” continued Neilson. “We don’t want to get away from our passing game and doing things right, but we can pass into different areas. We’ve been working on that as well. It’s important when you’re doing well that you continue to try and improve. We’re trying to add more all the time.

“The players have been working on a few things over the last few weeks that we hope to implement in the next few games. We’ll start to see some different things.”