First Team

Ayr United Preview: Robbie Neilson

11th March 2021

  • Bounce effect a possibility at Ayr
  • Positives from previous encounters
  • Confidence high
  • Planning underway for next season

Robbie Neilson met the media today to preview Saturday’s Championship encounter with Ayr United.

The manager covered a number of topics as the Jambos look to further extend their lead at the top of the table.


New Ayr manager

“I know Hoppy very well, actually, from his time at Livi and also down at Bradford then Morton. I know him very well, I know the way he plays. We’ve got a few players here that have played for him as well. 

“It’ll be interesting to see whether he sticks to the rigid system that Ayr have played over the last four or five years under the last few managers, or whether he’ll change it to the system he’s played for the majority of the time at the clubs he’s been at.

“You certainly get that in training (players raising their game) because everyone thinks they’ve got a clean slate. The intensity levels in training goes up quite a bit which can affect the game.

“We’ll see on Saturday. It’s that time of season when a lot of managers are changing, so it’s part and parcel of having to deal with it.”


Previous encounters

“In the first game we had a lot of possession, a lot of goal-scoring chances and we didn’t take them, then found ourselves 2-1 down after about 50 minutes.

“We went through the gears and ended up winning 5-3. We’d like to get the goals we scored previously at Tynecastle but keep the clean sheet we had at Somerset.”



“There has been a confidence level in the team right throughout the season. We’re in a really good position and we’ve won the vast majority of our games.

“We’ve come off the back of three draws to play against a team who are expected to challenge at the top of the table, and we got a really good result. So confidence has always been high, it’s just that final moment of putting the ball in the net where there was a wee period of it not quite happening but hopefully we’re back to winning ways again.”


Planning for next season

“We haven’t totally nailed it down yet but we know there is scope there to move in and move out. We’ve got a number of players out of contract in the summer, they may go which would free up money in the budget and we’ll have a look at things towards the end of the season. 

“We’re already looking at targets for next year to make sure that we improve the squad because I think it needs improved, and give us a chance to go on and, if we get over the line in this league, go and challenge at the top end of the top flight.

“When we win a game 3-0 we don’t need any changes and when we draw a game 1-1 we need ten new players. From our perspective, yes, we need to bring some players in and there will be players who leave as well but there is not going to be wholesale changes.

“I think it’s important that we have a continuity, that when we move up, if we get this over the line first and foremost, we have that continuity to keep the team together.”


Robbie’s press conference is available to watch in full on Hearts TV by clicking here.