Robbie Neilson offered an impassioned defence of Jordan McGhee, as the youngster conceded a penalty against Aberdeen to give the Dons a 1-0 win at Pittodrie.
With three minutes left on the clock, the 19-year-old defender handled the ball in the area to give away the spot kick that was lethally dispatched by Adam Rooney.
After the match, Neilson said he felt his side had deserved more from the match, but more importantly, put his full support behind Jordan as he insisted the talented youth would bounce back from his mistake.
“I thought we deserved something from the game”, said Robbie. “It was a tight game, and we had chances to win it in the second half. I think we’re progressing and moving in the right direction, I’m just disappointed with the manner of the goal we lost.
“We’ve come a long way in a short space of time to be disappointed not to have taken a result at Pittodrie. We’ll keep developing our players, that’s what the club is about, and mistakes will happen when you give young players a chance.
“That’s football. It happens all the time, a player makes a bad mistake”, he continued. “If you don’t want mistakes, you don’t play kids in your team but then how do you develop players? Jordan was playing left full-back in the biggest game of the weekend.”
When asked if the team and coaching staff had rallied round the defender, or indeed pointed the finger, Robbie dismissed any notion of blaming McGhee or of removing him from the firing line.
“I thought he was outstanding today and he’s made one mistake and we’ve lost. I could sign a 30 year old to play left-back but that goes against what we want to do at the club. He won’t do that the next time a cross comes in.
“He’s a 19 year old kid, he knows what he did, he doesn’t need us to tell him that,” stated the head coach. “The only way we’ll develop him is by supporting him, we can’t lambast every player who makes a mistake. We’ll continue to blood our young players and take the bad with the good.”