Robbie Neilson admitted Hearts must wake up after missing the chance to go second in the Ladbrokes Premiership.
Last night witnessed an abject display by the visitors in a 2-0 defeat at Kilmarnock, and head coach Neilson insisted his players must be more clinical.
Chances for Tony Watt and Jamie Walker went begging whilst Souleymane Coulibaly and Steven Smith scored two outstanding goals to earn Kilmarnock their first home win of the season. Consequently, Hearts wasted the opportunity to leapfrog Aberdeen into second place in the league.
“This was a wake-up call. We play some fantastic football at times, move the ball about and get into good areas. We also have to do the other side of the game where you need to turn teams and be horrible to play against,” said Neilson.
“We probably had the two best chances to score in the game to score and we lost 2-0. That summed up things recently. We’ve had loads of really good chances and not taken them. We’re creating them, that’s the main thing.
“It was disappointing the way it turned out. We started really well and had an unbelievable opportunity to score. If you don’t take chances, you don’t win games. That’s it, end of story. Then we just got pressed really aggressively and didn’t handle it.
“Credit to Kilmarnock. Their game plan was just to press the life out of us. We had periods when we popped the ball about well but we didn’t have any penetration. It was one of those nights that you hope are few and far between.
“We just couldn’t get a grip of the game. I don’t want to be somebody who just tells the players to shell it up the park, but sometimes that’s how you beat a press like that. We have to be able to flip our game a bit better than we did. We got most of our success by turning their back four and we didn’t do it enough.”
Kilmarnock manager Lee Clark praised his players after their first home victory. He admitted it was their best performance since he arrived in Ayrshire in February.
“I thought we were superb from start to finish,” he said. “It was a fantastic performance and I think we’re showing consistency. We’ve got seven points from our last three games. It should be nine from nine but that’s me nit-picking a bit.
“I thought our performance was superb with and without the ball. We scored two and could’ve scored a couple more. I would say it’s the best performance since I’ve been here when you consider the quality of the opposition. It gets that monkey off our backs as we’ve got that first home win. We’ve done it against a team of quality. We deserved it. This wasn’t a fluke, we weren’t hanging on. As long as we do the basics really well, we can be a good team in this league.”