First Team

"Didn't do enough"

24th September 2014

Robbie Neilson reflects on Hearts' League Cup defeat to Celtic, where a penalty was the game-changer.

Robbie Neilson refused to be too critical on his side after last night's Scottish League Cup defeat to Celtic, but knows his boys have to take their opportunities at both ends of the park to stand any chance of winning big matches.

The Jambos were sunk by goals from John Guidetti, Kris Commons and an Adam Eckersley own goal, with Osman Sow's penalty miss and Jamie Walker rattling the crossbar compounding a night of misery.

After the match Robbie was in a reflective mood, choosing to look at the positives whilst acknowledging that things could've been done a lot better.

Speaking to the media, Robbie said: "We've defended well all season - it's been one of our plus points so far. We knew we had to be really good defensively tonight.

"The first goal we made a bit of a mistake, the second goal we made a mistake, the third goal we made a mistake. If you do that when you come here then you're going to lose games.

"We know that if you come to places like this and get two chances, then you need to score three. We didn't do it and we didn't deserve to get anything out of the game.

"I was pleased with a lot of aspects of the game. I thought we passed it well when we did have possession. We kept going, we were disciplined but we just didn't do enough at the end of the day."

With the score at 1-0, Hearts were afforded the perfect opportunity to get back on level terms after Virgil van Dijk hauled down Sow inside the box. Instead, the game turned on it's head in Celtic's favour after the big Swede fired wildly over the bar before the Hoops went straight down the park and scored with a penalty of their own.

"That's football," said Robbie. "That's just the way it goes. At least Osman's had the strength to go up and take it. There was a lot of conviction in it…it's still coming down! He's gone up there and he's smashed it and I'd rather that somebody went up there and hit it with a bit of conviction rather than and flaff it or try and chip it.

"I've got no issues with him at all. The boys rallied round him at the end. He's a big character, a big player in the team and we move on. That's the way football is. You go up and take a penalty at a big venue and we'll miss some and we'll score some.

"But that's the small margins in football, that's the way it goes. At 1-0, you get a penalty and score that then it's a different game. We miss it, Celtic go up the park and get a penalty and score it, it's 2-0. The game hinges on that outcome. That's the way it goes. 

"We know it'll happen to us throughout the course of the season, where somebody will miss a penalty and we'll score one. We just need to take it on the chin and move on.

"At the end of the day the League Cup wasn't a priority for us. The league is the main one and we've got Livingston on Sunday so we start preparing for that now."