Robbie Neilson admitted he was disappointed in his team’s performance at Ibrox today, but insisted that some perspective on the result would be required.
The Scottish Championship winners lost their second game of the season to a resurgent Rangers side thanks to first half goals from Kenny Miller and Haris Vuckic.
Lee McCulloch was dismissed for a flying elbow on Osman Sow, before Genero Zeefuik netted a consolation effort 7 minutes from time.
The head coach conceded that the home side were worth their victory, as his title winners didn’t do enough to warrant the victory.
“We didn’t start the game well enough,” said Neilson. “We did things that played into their hands. We got more joy when we went to two up front, but it was hard when you give away two poor goals.
“The defence shifted too far over one side for the first, and we let Vuckic in too easily for the other. We dominated the second half, without causing them any problems.
“We didn’t do enough to win but the pleasing thing is that, after a narrow 2-1 defeat at Ibrox, everyone’s devastated which is a sign of how far we’ve come.”
Despite the loss, Neilson maintained that the team still deserved more praise than criticism, because of their achievements so far.
However, he warned that he would not accept similar performances, claiming the players needed to find their own personal motivation to win games if they wished to remain in his plans.
“It’s right that we step back and look at the bigger picture. We’re 23 points clear, guaranteed top level football next year and playing a team desperate for points, when that mentality can swing things.
“They’re disappointed, but perspective is required,” he continued. ”They walked out onto the park today with their heads held high, as champions of the league. We won’t take the attitude that the league is won, so let’s down tools. Champions still need to win games.
“The players need personal motivation too. We can reiterate that playing for Hearts means wins are required, but they need to do that too. We have a full house on Wednesday against Alloa, and we’ll be looking for a win and a performance.