Hearts to alter tactics again for Livingston clash

Hearts' formation at Cowdenbeath was a one-off, according to Robbie Neilson
Hearts' formation at Cowdenbeath was a one-off, according to Robbie Neilson
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HEARTS head coach Robbie Neilson will change tactics again for this afternoon’s match with Livingston, explaining that Tuesday’s formation at Cowdenbeath was a one-off.

Neilson is likely to return to a 4-2-3-1 system in West Lothian after changing to a 4-3-1-2 at Central Park.

He paired full-back Callum Paterson and striker James Keatings together in attack and saw both players score in the 2-0 win. Nonetheless, he explained today why that structure was designed purely for the Cowdenbeath fixture.

“It worked but I probably won’t use it again,” said Neilson. “It’s not really the way we want to play. It doesn’t suit our style. We went a bit more direct with Callum up top but Callum is a right-back. That’s what he is and that’s where he’ll play in his career. We need to make sure we develop him there.

“I’m not a fan of going direct but you go to Cowdenbeath on a Tuesday night and the pitch is heavy, it’s cutting up and it’s narrow. Needs must sometimes.

“You need to get the three points. We felt that was the best way of getting three points and thankfully it worked. We might have gone there and played our usual system and won 2-0, but the worry was that we wouldn’t get influential players into the game.”

Paterson is expected to revert to right-back this afternoon, although Neilson praised defenders Jordan McGhee and Brad McKay for stepping into the team at Cowdenbeath and recording a clean sheet.

“I thought they were great. It wasn’t a game for passing the ball about in defence like we usually do. It was a day for being strong, organised, winning headers and picking up second balls. The guys in our back four all did that. They’re all good defenders and they all played really well.”