Neilson: Hearts played as individuals – not a team

Robbie Neilson applauds the Hearts fans as the Hibs players celebrate their win in the background. Pic: Ian Georgeson
Robbie Neilson applauds the Hearts fans as the Hibs players celebrate their win in the background. Pic: Ian Georgeson
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HEARTS head coach Robbie Neilson felt his new formation didn’t work at Easter Road yesterday because his team played like individuals.

He discarded a 3-4-1-2 system after 37 minutes but was angered that his instructions weren’t properly carried out.

Goals by Jason Cummings and Farid El Alagui gave Hibs a precious win in their fight for second place in the Scottish Championship. Title-winners Hearts delivered a tame performance by comparison.

Neilson explained that the 3-4-1-2 formation was designed to give his side an advantage in the season’s final Edinburgh derby. However, he had to change back to 4-2-3-1 because his plans weren’t being carried out properly.

“We wanted to try something different. We were looking to try and win the game and we thought it would help us,” Neilson told the Evening News. “Hibs matched up with us. I thought we started okay for the first ten or 15 minutes but then we stopped doing the things we spoke about.

“We talked about putting balls into certain areas where it would hurt them and we didn’t do it. We ended up becoming a team of individuals who were just doing whatever they wanted. If you do that, you’ll be beaten in games like this.

“We changed it and I thought after that we got into the game. We had a lot of possession in the second half and some chances until the end, when I thought we started over-pushing forward to try and get the equaliser.

“That’s when we got caught and lost the second goal. Even when we got into good areas, there wasn’t a real commitment to go and score the goal.”

Neilson’s discontent stemmed from last week’s loss against Rangers at Ibrox. Hearts recovered to beat Alloa in midweek before yesterday’s defeat at Easter Road. “After such a fantastic season, we’ve lost two games against our main rivals. We could have had a fantastic week and instead it’s been a terrible week,” admitted Neilson.

“We’ve picked up three points out of nine and we should be winning these games. I felt we just weren’t at it yesterday. We didn’t do the right things and we went through the motions a wee bit.

“There are fine margins in games like this but we didn’t do enough. We didn’t do what we’ve been doing all season.”