Hearts manager Robbie Neilson reveals thinking behind big calls in win at St Mirren

Robbie Neilson revealed today that Hearts’ early substitutes were designed to kill the game at St Mirren on Saturday.

Monday, 28th February 2022, 7:00 am

They became pivotal to the 2-0 win after the hosts were reduced to ten men with Conor Ronan’s 22nd-minute red card. Neilson introduced Ellis Simms, Josh Ginnelly and Alex Cochrane on 55 minutes and reaped the rewards of a bold move.

Simms scored the opening goal before Cammy Devlin struck the second – his first since joining Hearts. Ginnelly and Cochrane both contributed in wide areas as the Edinburgh club ended a run of just one win in six league games.

“I just felt it was the moment to go and try to kill the game. It started to open up a wee bit. St Mirren had changed their shape and gone with two up front,” Neilson explained to the Evening News.

Robbie Neilson with Hearts in Paisley.

“That allowed us to get a bit more influence. I put Ellis Simms on to run those channels and exploit the space. You make decisions, sometimes it's right and sometimes it isn't. On Saturday it was right.

“Simms is very difficult to stop when he gets into a one-v-one position in the channel. He has pace, power and great ability.

“He started off really well when he came in. There were a couple of games recently where it's been very compact and he's found it difficult but it’s good that he got on the scoresheet.

“We played better against Dundee in both halves the other week and didn't get the result we wanted. There were periods also at St Johnstone where we played better. Sometimes it's about wee moments.

“You have moments in your own box but also in the opposition box. We limited St Mirren to very little and managed to take two chances ourselves.”

Neilson was also delighted with Barrie McKay’s input as Hearts’ most creative force teed up Simms’ opener during another impressive display.

“He is a top player. I'm just really pleased to have him at the club just now. Every time he plays, he's got the quality to find that final pass,” added the manager.

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