Robbie Neilson insists Gomis needs to retain aggression

Willie Collum sends off Gomis against Celtic after just eight minutes. Picture: SNS
Willie Collum sends off Gomis against Celtic after just eight minutes. Picture: SNS
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Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson insists he has no concerns over Morgaro Gomis’ discipline as the midfielder begins a two-match ban.

Gomis has accumulated seven bookings and a red card in 17 appearances so far this season but Neilson will not attempt to curb the combative side of his game.

The Senegal internationalist had already triggered a one-match league ban with his sixth yellow card of the campaign against Falkirk last month. That became two when he was red carded for a reckless tackle on Celtic’s Scott Brown just eight minutes into last weekend’s Scottish Cup tie at Tynecastle.

Prince Buaben is expected to return to Hearts’ starting line-up against Queen of the South on Saturday as Gomis begins his ban. Although he would much rather have Gomis available, Neilson believes the little midfielder would be far less effective if he did not possess his aggressive streak.

“It doesn’t worry me at all, that’s just the way he plays,” said Neilson. “I’m pretty sure if you asked any midfielder in the league, they would say Morgaro is the most difficult opponent they’ve played against. That’s because he works tirelessly, he gets after the ball and he wins it back. He’s been great for us.

“When you play centre midfield nowadays, you pick up a lot of bookings because referees will give them for innocuous challenges that, maybe five years ago, you wouldn’t even be spoken to for. It’s just the way it is now. Any kind of challenge at all on the football park, no matter whether it’s first minute or last, you can be booked.

“We’ve seen that in the last few games because we’ve had guys who have committed one foul and been booked. Then you get guys who commit five our six and don’t get booked. That’s just the way football is nowadays. If you want somebody to be combative in there then he’s going to pick up bookings.

“Morgaro wouldn’t be the same player if you took that side of his game away, so we’ll just have to deal with it.”