Robbie Neilson confirms Andy Halliday red card appeal decision and explains reasons for Hearts' defeat at Aberdeen

Hearts manager Robbie Neilson in the stand at Pittodrie.Hearts manager Robbie Neilson in the stand at Pittodrie.
Hearts manager Robbie Neilson in the stand at Pittodrie.
Robbie Neilson laid out the reasons for Hearts losing their unbeaten Premiership run following the 2-1 defeat at Pittodrie.

The Tynecastle manager felt his players did not reach the levels previously achieved this season and failed to create enough chances to trouble their hosts.

Goals by Marley Watkins and Lewis Ferguson overhauled John Souttar’s penalty kick, which put Hearts ahead in the dying second of the first half.

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Neilson and his squad left the north east disappointed that their 11-game unbeaten league run did not extend to 12.

“We have had a brilliant start to the season, go 1-0 up and then drop three points. We need to move on to Dundee United next week,” said Neilson.

“In any game, if you don't create clear-cut chances it's a frustration. I don't think there was many chances within the game, it was stuffy. We nullified each other to an extent. We just didn't get to the levels we've been at – that's the bigger disappointment.

“It's Scottish football, 75 per cent of the goals come from set-plays. If you are going to lose, generally it will be there. Teams aren't going to pass through you. It's something we need to work at. There's a block in the front area [before Ferguson’s winner] but the referee doesn't see it, we just need to deal with it.”

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Hearts substitute Andy Halliday received a late red card for a lunging challenge on Ferguson. The club don’t intend to appeal the decision.

“At the time I didn't think it was a red card. He comes across and it's not high, he mistimes it yes, but these days with referees you ask them a question,” said Neilson.

“It's in front of the crowd, they get going and it's a red card. We're not going to appeal it, there's no point. I've not been in the dressing-room to speak to Andy.”

Neilson remains hopeful top goalscorer Liam Boyce will return from a calf injury next weekend. “I expect to have Liam Boyce back. He did a wee bit yesterday and wasn't quite right but my hope is he's back to full training on Monday. Liam gives us that link, so hopefully we should have him back.”

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