Robbie Neilson reveals key issues Hearts will address after shock Alloa loss and why they must accept criticism

Robbie Neilson today outlined the areas Hearts need to work on after Saturday’s surprise Betfred Cup defeat at Alloa.

By Barry Anderson
Monday, 30th November 2020, 10:05 am
Hearts manager Robbie Neilson was a frustrated man at Alloa.
Hearts manager Robbie Neilson was a frustrated man at Alloa.

The Tynecastle manager admitted he and his players must accept criticism for the 1-0 loss, which arrived courtesy of Alan Trouten’s extra-time penalty.

He pinpointed “final moments” as not good enough and said matters will be addressed at Riccarton this week. Despite dominating possession in Clackmannanshire, Hearts lacked quality and a cutting edge against part-time opposition.

The result was Alloa’s first ever competitive success against Hearts and sealed a historic place in the League Cup quarter-finals.

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“The final moment wasn’t good enough for us – the final pass, the final shot,” said Neilson. “The rest of it was good. We dominated the game and battered Alloa all afternoon but we couldn’t produce that final moment.

“We need to work on that, concentrate on these key moments. They are the key to winning games. When you’ve got that moment to play the pass, you’ve got to hit it on the money.

“When you’ve got the shot at goal, you’ve got to finish because you don’t get a lot of them. We understand that and we are disappointed.

“It wasn’t good enough in the key moments. I was happy with the workrate, movement and passing. We need to work on that final bit.

“I don’t think it’s down to desire. I think it’s either where a cross goes or where the movement is to get there. We need to concentrate and see it.

“We had two or three one-on-ones with the keeper. Do you finish or slip a pass? Round about the box we have chances to slip people in and we’re hitting shots early. It’s something we need to show the players.”

Hearts trained yesterday as they begin preparations for Saturday’s league game at Morton. First, they must digest flak coming their way following the last-16 cup exit.

Neilson has told his players to take criticism on the chin. “Ultimately, we have to go out and win on Saturday now and get back to winning ways. We have to win the league,” he said.

“We wanted to try and win the Betfred Cup. We won four games on the bounce but couldn’t get a result at Alloa. You have to take that on the chin and accept the flak that is coming our way.

“We are expected to go to Alloa and win, in my opinion. You are going to get criticism for not doing it. We shouldn’t be going there and getting beaten, but we did and we have to deal with it.”

Neilson complained to referee Gavin Duncan at the end of Saturday’s tie because he believed the penalty decision was incorrect. Duncan penalised Hearts winger Jamie Walker for an alleged foul on Alloa’s Robert Thomson but refused to listen to protests.

“I asked him why he made the decision but I didn’t really get an answer. He didn’t let me speak to him. He gave me a yellow card,” said Neilson.

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