Robbie Neilson addresses Hearts fans' anger and admits "it's not good enough" with talks planned after Aberdeen loss
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Two goals by Duk and a Mattie Pollock header put the hosts 3-0 ahead inside the opening 30 minutes with Hearts overwhelmed. Supporters vented their fury at players and coaches at full-time and Neilson conceded they had every right to do so.
“I certainly do understand their frustration because I was as frustrated as them, if not more,” he said. “They paid their money to come up here, it’s a long journey on the train, expensive, to go and watch that? It’s not good enough.
“I thought we were miles off where we need to be and where we have been as well. We didn't win first or second contact and didn't put the ball in behind them. That was a massive frustration – Aberdeen were up for it and we weren't.
“You know it's going to be first and second contact when you come here and we just didn't compete for it. They flooded the area, they were more on the front foot and played it in behind us and we couldn't get a foothold. It rocks us when you lose such an early goal but to be honest all three goals were very sloppy.
“The first we let someone go down the line, the second we have three centre-halves and we don't pick him [Duk] up. The third one is just really poor so it was a frustrating game and I would rather be playing tomorrow than a two-week break now. We are a good team but we need to get them going again with that energy as well.”
The fight for third in the Premiership intensifies with Aberdeen now fourth and four points behind Hearts. Hibs are a point worse off. “We have two teams behind us showing a bit of form while we’ve been huffing and puffing. We need to get back to it now,” said Neilson.
“If you had said to me before the World Cup break that we’d be in this position when we were five or six points behind teams, I’d probably have taken it. But we’ve had opportunities to get ourselves further ahead and haven’t taken them.”
Hearts plan to speak to players before their trip to Kilmarnock in two weeks. “When you play at Hearts you’re expected to win every game, and when we go to Kilmarnock we’ll be expected to go and win there,” said Neilson.
“We need to bring a positivity to the game. We’ll speak to the players as a group and individually and make sure they understand what needs to be done. Then it’s about getting the freshness back.”
Aberdeen fans sang interim manager Barry Robson’s name but he refused to be drawn on his chances of securing the job permanently. “I'm not bothered if they sing my name, I just want to win matches for them,” he smiled. “Those fans have been working all week and they just want to see a bit of excitement. You just want them to enjoy watching their team and go home happy.
“I haven't had any indication from the board. I've not spoken to them and that is something you would need to ask them. Let's just keep winning games. I've not looked any further than that. Hearts are a good side. So that made the performance even better.”