Hearts told to 'suck it up' while Aberdeen celebrated as the Tynecastle club's anger is laid bare
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The home players’ joy was heard from the away dressing room at full-time as Barry Robson earned a fourth win in six games as interim manager. His Hearts counterpart Robbie Neilson admitted players and coaches were angered by the display, with Aberdeen killing the game through three goals inside the first 30 minutes.
Travelling fans relayed their ire at players and management and Neilson admitted he had no complaints. “I totally understand, I was the same. It’s not good enough,” he acknowledged. “People paid their hard-earned money to go up to Aberdeen – a long way to go and a long way back. To see that, especially the first-half performance, was nowhere near good enough for Hearts.
“We spoke to the players and we could hear the Aberdeen players celebrating. You’ve got to suck it up and realise it’s not acceptable for Hearts to go up there and show that level of performance in the first half. Even in the second half, we huffed and puffed a wee bit and got into the game but didn’t really threaten that much.
“It’s different when it’s 3-0 because they are sitting in a wee bit. The first-half performance was miles off it. We had opportunities to pass forward and we go back, opportunities to run forward and we don’t go. We could put the ball in the box and we delay it. When you play these games, you need to do everything on the front foot and be aggressive. We didn’t do it.
“We spoke about the fact that, when you go to Pittodrie, there isn’t a lot of football played. There is a lot of aggression, a lot of second balls and turning teams. We didn’t win the first contact or the second. When we did get the opportunity to put the ball forward into their half, we didn’t play into the areas we were looking for.
“There are a lot of things we were looking at and going: ‘That’s not us.’ We didn’t turn up at all. There is frustration and anger from us all from the first half and the second half. We have a good team here. We seem to have these periods where we do really well and then we come off it a wee bit. Now it’s about trying to get us back going again. We need to do that for the next game.”
Hearts travel to Kilmarnock on Saturday week but first intend to address their shortcomings during the international break. “We’ve got two weeks coming up to get ourselves ready for the Kilmarnock game. This month coming up is going to be very important for us,” stressed Neilson.
“The boys will be in training this week, they will get a couple of days off towards the end of the week but the rest of the time they will be in training. We have a number of boys away on international duty so we need to get the team ready.”