Robbie Neilson urges Hearts to finish the job against Hibs and explains what they must do to complete a great season

Robbie Neilson implored Hearts to finish the job against Hibs next week after winning the Edinburgh derby at Tynecastle.

A 3-1 victory courtesy of Andy Halliday’s two goals and one from Stephen Kingsley secured third place and guaranteed European football for the Gorgie club. The result also left Hibs finishing the season in the bottom six.

The sides meet again at Hampden next Saturday in the Scottish Cup semi-final. Another Hearts win would guarantee European group-stage football through to November and Neilson is eager for his team to realise that ambition.

“I don't think there has ever been back-to-back derbies like this,” he said at full-time. “The biggest focus for us has always been the Scottish Cup one but the key had to be that we focused on this one.

Robbie Neilson was delighted as Hearts beat Hibs.

“Today, ten per cent of the job is done. The other 90 per cent [still to come]. The Scottish Cup allows us to get to a final, win a derby and guarantee European group stage football. So that game is massive.

“I think it has been a decent season but it has got the potential to be a great season if we can win next week.”

Finishing third means Hearts are in the European Conference League third qualifying round as things stand. If they reach the Scottish Cup final, as the Premiership’s third-placed team they will take the competition’s European berth in the Europa League play-off round because whoever they play – Rangers or Celtic – will be in the Champions League.

Defeat in the Europa League play-off permits a parachute into the Europa Conference League group phase, so there is much riding on next week’s game for Neilson and his squad.

After Drey Wright’s opening goal and an uneasy early spell in the game, they recovered to win comfortably. “I was delighted with the result. It's a derby, you want to win it. It's really important that with a full house here today we win the game. Sometimes it is not about the performance,” admitted Neilson.

“Hibs started the game better. They got the goal, pressed us, made it difficult and we didn't settle into the game. It wasn't until probably 25/30 minutes we started to settle down and play. Once that happened we took a bit of control, created chances and thankfully got the goal just before half-time. I think it would have been different if we went in 1-0 down.

“The goal just before half-time changed the teamtalk to an extent because the players come in a bit more positive. By that point we had started to get control of the game after the pace had died down a bit. It was a good performance today but it's done now – it's all about next week.”

The manager praised Halliday after Hibs fans taunted him early in the game. “Andy plays his best when he is under pressure, getting stick from the opposition because he can handle it. He thrives off it,” said Neilson.

“Andy, when we had the season with no fans, didn't like it because he needs that. He takes the ball and tries things. He'll give it away like we all do but he'll keep getting on the ball. I'm delighted for him because it has been a good performance.”

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