Gary Naysmith admits pressure is on Hearts after shock Scottish Cup exit to Brora Rangers

Gary Naysmith has spoken of his shock following Hearts' Scottish Cup exit at the hands of Brora Rangers.

Wednesday, 24th March 2021, 4:45 pm
Martin MacLean scores Brora's winner in the Scottish Cup tie against Hearts at Dudgeon Park (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

The former Tynecastle left-back and lifelong Hearts fan reckons the result is the club's worst in living memory, and admits manager Robbie Neilson will come under pressure following the 2-1 reverse in the Highlands.

Naysmith had a brief spell back at Hearts last year, taking on the role of loans manager but was released following the club's relegation to the Championship.

He was recently appointed manager of Edinburgh City, and while his former club were crashing out the cup at Dudgeon Park, Naysmith was guiding his new side into the third round courtesy of a 2-1 win over Albion Rovers at Cliftonville.

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"We had a game last night and when I jumped in the car and heard that result it was a massive, massive surprise," Naysmith told Sky Sports News.

"First and foremost congratulations to Brora. I think that's been overlooked. What they've done there is a remarkable achievement for a part-time team that haven't been playing.

"But for as long as I can remember as a Hearts fan, that is the worst result. Robbie's not hid under it, he's said that it's an embarrassment. I'm not trying to kick a man when he's down but Hearts shouldn't be losing to Brora.

"There was a few changes but they still had a strong, strong squad out there, and as he said, that's unacceptable for Hearts to be losing to Brora.

"But I suppose Robbie will use that as a test for the players. Who can bounce back from a result like that, who still wants to be part of his plans for next season? You might see him going the other way and give a few of the youngsters a chance to see if they can be part of his squad for next season.

"He's got a lot of tough decisions to make and he'll be looking at himself as well because you've got to after a result like that."

Neilson starting his coaching career at East Fife under Naysmith, who says the Hearts players must also accept the share of the blame for the defeat to Brora, which came on the back of some uninspiring performances in the Championship, despite holding a 16-point lead in the title race.

"[The pressure] will always mount after a result like that," he said. “The Hearts fans are a demanding lot and there was already a little bit of unhappiness about them dropping so many points in the league to teams they feel they should be beating.

"Whether that's right or wrong, people have different opinions, but you're always going to come under pressure when you lose a game like that to a team that's ranked three or four divisions below you that haven't played for so long.

"I'm sure Robbie will be looking at himself first and foremost but they are all in it. The manager picks the team but when the players go over the white line they have to take a massive amount of responsibility. It can't just solely be put on the manager's toes."

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