Jordan McGhee insists Hearts’ players are to blame for Tuesday’s Scottish Cup exit against Hibs, not head coach Robbie Neilson.
Some fans have criticised Neilson after his team squandered a 2-0 lead at home in the first tie before losing the replay 1-0 at Easter Road. However, McGhee stressed that the Tynecastle players accept full responsibility.
The teenage defender told supporters that the squad and management are hurting just as much as them after being knocked out of the cup by Championship opponents. He said those pointing fingers at Neilson are targeting the wrong person because it is players who are answerable.
In his first season managing in the Premiership, Neilson has guided Hearts to third place with an 11-point advantage and two games in hand over Ross County in fourth. He has lost just only one league match since September but has incurred the wrath of some supporters since Tuesday’s cup defeat.
“You could say it’s a bit unfair. The manager picks the team he thinks is strong enough to win,” explained McGhee. “It’s up to the players to do it on the pitch. For the first ten or 15 minutes against Hibs, we let ourselves down compared to the standards we’ve set this season. I think that’s what killed us. That and not taking chances.
“The manager will feel even more gutted, I’d imagine. Robbie loves winning. He thrives on confidence and doing well. He’ll be really disappointed with Tuesday’s result. However, he came in on Wednesday and said to the boys that what’s happened has happened. We just need to learn from our mistakes and we’ll be a better team and better players for it.
“No matter where you play – abroad, England, wherever – I’m sure all the fans will have their own opinions on you. They’ll voice their opinions when you’re on the pitch, when you’re off the pitch, on social media, everywhere. It’s just whether you choose to rise to it or ignore it. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, you just take it with a pinch of salt and deal with your own career.
“The boys know we didn’t really turn up in the first half on Tuesday. For the first ten minutes, we weren’t even on the pitch. Hibs came out of the traps and we didn’t know how to deal with it. We settled in the second half and started passing the ball, which we’re good at. I thought we were much better then, we created a few chances and possibly should’ve scored. Fans and everyone else give their opinion but, as footballers, it’s our job to take it on the chin and move on.”