ROBBIE NEILSON will use Hearts’ controversial defeat at Hamilton in August as part of his team-talk this weekend.
The head coach will stress to his players the need to avoid a repeat result, which began a run of the three straight losses for the Edinburgh club after a rampant start to the season.
Callum Paterson’s dismissal 14 minutes from full-time turned the match on its head as Hearts saw a 2-1 lead become a 3-2 deficit within minutes. The red card was later reduced to a yellow on appeal, but the defeat had a knock-on effect as Neilson’s side lost their next two matches.
The head coach explained today that he will revisit events that day before sending his players out at New Douglas Park on Sunday.
“It will be part of the team-talk. It’s something we’ve spoken about already,” he told the Evening News.
“We started that game well and were leading 2-1, then we got a man sent off and the game changed. It was a difficult one and it hit us for six for a couple of weeks. We had a couple of bad results after that before we got back on track.
“It was difficult to take at the time, just the manner of it, but it’s happened and you need to move on. We need to make sure we get a good result because next week we go up to Inverness, which will be difficult, and then it’s the derby in the Scottish Cup.”
Hearts are aiming to close in on second-placed Aberdeen over the next few weeks as they are not due to play the Pittodrie club or Celtic again until April. However, Neilson warned that anyone who perceives other fixtures before then to be easier is mistaken.
“Everyone looks at the fixtures and says: ‘You should win that one and this one’. We lost against Hamilton last time and we lost against Inverness up there last time as well. That’s the two games we have coming up in the next two weeks. It shows you nothing is given in this league.
“People expect us to turn up and win but we have to earn anything we get. We’ve had a good period and we’re in good form right now but we have to do it every week.
“We know what we’re going to get at Hamilton, we know the surface we’re playing on, we know how the game will be played. The players are a bit more experienced. They have another 15 games behind them so I expect us to go there and perform.”