First Team

Dundee Preview: Robbie Neilson

4th March 2021

  • Ups and downs throughout season - important get out of it quickly
  • Expecting a Premiership-style on game on Saturday
  • Michael Smith fit to play
  • More respect should be shown to Championship teams

 

Robbie Neilson this afternoon previewed Hearts' Championship match with Dundee.

Speaking to the press, he covered a number of subjects as the Jambos look to extend their lead at the top of the table.

 

Form

"You go through wee ups and downs throughout the season. The most important thing is to get yourself out as quickly as you can.

"We’re on the back of six games unbeaten; three wins, three draws. We’d have loved to have won six games on the bounce but we’re sitting in first position, 12 points clear.

"I think we’ve got to look at the positives of it. It’s been a good season from our perspective, and the position we’re in. We’d like it to be a flawless season but it’s never going to be like that.

"There are going to be draws, there are going to be losses along the way and we’ve got a chance on Saturday to get ourselves back going again with three points.

"It’s part of football. Everyone has got an opinion. If you’re not winning 6-0 the style of play gets brought into question.

"I think that the way football is at the moment the games are tough. There is no atmosphere at the games. The surfaces aren’t great, which makes it difficult to play nice football at times. It’s about picking up points and getting over the line.

"This club has had a difficult couple of years, coming off the back of last season when there was, I think, four wins in 30. We’re now sitting in a position where we’re unbeaten in six, we’ve won 12 games from 18. It’s been a huge turnaround in the last nine months. We need to make sure that we understand that."

 

Opponents

"I expect it to be a blood and thunder game. I expect it to be pretty open. It’ll be different from your general Championship games that both Dundee and Hearts play, where they’re generally playing a team that will sit in and make it very difficult for you to break down.

"Two teams that want to win the game. We want to win it because we’re at home and we’re going for a title. Dundee want to win it because they’re trying to catch us and catch teams roundabout them. I expect it to be more like a Premiership game with the openness of it.

"We’re looking forward to the game. It’s a great game for us. Previously, at Tynecastle, we had a good result against them and we hope to do that again."

 

Fitness

"Michael Smith is fine. He trained with us today so we’ve got a full squad at the moment.

"John Souttar is back in with us, full training at the moment as well, which is brilliant news. We’ll see how he goes in the next month before we make a decision on whether we push him harder. Other than that everyone is good."

 

The Championship

"Having spoken to a few of the Championship managers, I do feel that there has to be respect given to these teams. A few of them think it is disrespectful what it is said in the press by certain people; they expect Hearts and Dundee to turn up and just turn these teams over.

"There are good coaches with good players and good football clubs and there is no god given right for teams to turn up and win three, four or five-nil.

 "There has got to be realism. We go into every single game expecting to win and wanting to win but there are also another 11 players out there that are trying to stop us doing that.

"You’ve got to take the rough with the smooth at times. We’d love to be winning four and five-nil every week but it’s not like that in this league, that’s for sure."

 

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