Robbie: Difficult game awaits

22 June 2023

Robert Snodgrass' equaliser secured a point in Paisley last weekend but the gaffer believes it will be a different match in Gorgie.

“I am expecting a tough test," he said at his pre-match press conference. "It was very difficult down there and although it will be different at Tynecastle, I still expect it to be a very difficult game.”

Hearts supporters will understandably be keen on seeing their two latest arrivals take to the Tynecastle turf on Friday and the manager confirmed that despite their differing recent circumstances, both will be in contention to potentially feature at some point against the Buddies.

“We have had a number of injuries this season,” said Neilson. “We have lost a number of key players and it has been difficult, but we have managed to stay in that third spot, but we really want to try and kick on through this window to cement that, so it was important that we brought in some numbers in and some quality too."

On James Hill, Neilson said: “I am delighted to get him. He is a player we have known from his time at Fleetwood. Then he got his big move to Bournemouth where he has not played as much as he wanted, so it is an opportunity for us to bring him up here, give him game-time and try developing him.

“He has still been training with the Bournemouth first team, even though he has not been playing, but looking at him in training today, he looks like he is ready to go, so it certainly gives us an option. “

On Yutaro Oda, the manager added: “He has played with the Japanese U21’s and in the top-flight over there. He is very quick, has good feet and is a good finisher. These are attributes you look for in a player. He has not played since the end of November, so fitness-wise we need to develop that, so it might be more of a gradual process to get him into the first team.”