Gary Mackay: Now we know why Ann Budge kept Robbie Neilson at Hearts

Ann Budge always had great faith in Robbie Neilson dating back to his first spell as Hearts manager.

By Gary Mackay
Wednesday, 9th March 2022, 12:30 pm

It was refreshing to see even if some people liked to question it. Even last year, when the negativity peaked after the Scottish Cup exit at Brora Rangers, she must have realised there were mitigating circumstances as club owner at the time.

And she was 100 per cent correct. Keeping Robbie in place has proved to be the right board decision. Hearts are sitting 13 points clear in third place with a Scottish Cup quarter-final to look forward to this weekend. We would have bitten people's hands off for this.

Every Hearts supporter needs to say that to themselves: ‘We would have bitten anyone's hand off to be in this position if you asked us 12 months ago.’

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Ann Budge with Robbie Neilson in the background at Tynecastle.

And right now, every other team in Scotland wants to be where we are – with the obvious exception of Celtic and Rangers. Let's be happy and enjoy it while we can.

You still hear a few people calling for a change of manager at times and that’s bizarre given where we are sitting. I suppose some are never happy and you get that in any fanbase.

Because of what Hearts have gone through in recent years, the supporters feel we have as much say as anybody. Thousands of us are putting money in every month through Foundation of Hearts, who own the club on behalf of the fans.

Social media doesn't help because people are able to hide behind a mask. If you have something to say to someone, say it to their face. I'm pretty sure Robbie and the other coaches would respect that.

You need to be able to back up what you are saying. If you're writing something down or typing it out, as yourself if you would be prepared to say it to the person's face. Then make your decision from there.

If somebody has a wee dislike for someone, that doesn't mean they should be losing their job. Hearts’ football was uninspiring for a wee period there but the quality shown in the last three games indicates that the team is maybe playing with a bit more freedom. Let's enjoy it.

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