First Team

Back to winning ways

8th April 2015

Robbie Neilson pleased as squad rotation pays off with three points.

Robbie Neilson declared himself satisfied after his much-changed side warmed up for the Edinburgh derby with a win over Alloa Athletic.

The Scottish Championship winners earned a 3-0 victory thanks to goals from Callum Paterson, Danny Wilson and Soufian El Hassnaoui to extend their lead at the top of the league to 26 points.

After the game, the head coach offered some insight into the seven changes he made ahead of Sunday’s capital clash with the Hibees.

“We made a few changes tonight,” explained Robbie. “We had a lot of guys who’ve had limited game time, so we wanted to get them some minutes on the pitch.

“As a result, the game was a bit flat, it was a bit stop-start and lethargic. I told them at half-time to up the tempo and add a bit of pace to proceedings, and we got two more goals.”

Jack Hamilton made his first start since the opening weeks of the season, while Kenny Anderson and Brad McKay also made their returns to the starting line-up for the first time in some months.

“We’ve got good guys who can come in, Kenny Anderson and Brad McKay haven’t played for a few months, El Hassnaoui and Keatings needed more minutes as well. 

“It wasn’t a huge change in terms of shape, but it does take time for the guys to get used to each other’s style of play. We played with two sitters tonight instead of one, so that took time.”

Neilson was particularly pleased with the performance of El Hassnaoui, with the Moroccan nabbing his third goal of the season to cap off a fine individual display.

“Soufian did really well. It’s one of his best games so far,” said Robbie. “He’s had a really hard year, he had two operations at the beginning of the season, got himself fit then gets a bad ankle injury.

“We’re looking to give him more game time ahead of next season, because he’ll be a big player for us.”

Lastly, the Jambos head into Sunday’s Edinburgh derby in positive spirits following tonight’s win, with Robbie insisting the final match with the Easter Road outfit is one they want to win for the supporters.

“We’re back in tomorrow morning, a few boys had their eye on the derby tonight so we made some changes. It’s a huge game for us, and one we have every intention of winning.”