First Team

Reaction: Robbie Neilson

10th October 2020

Robbie Neilson insists there are lessons to be learned from Saturday's Betfred Cup victory over Cowdenbeath.

The Jambos went top of Group A with a 1-0 victory over the Blue Brazil at Bayview, courtesy of a Craig Halkett header ten minutes from full time. 

Speaking after the match, Robbie said:

"It wasn't a great game. We started well, switched it and got into good areas but couldn't get the goal," he explained.

"The longer the game went on, the slower it got and they sat it and made it difficult. We weren't as good as we should've been but we managed to get that goal at the end.

"We weren't under any pressure at all but it was one of those game. You get those in the Betfred.

"It's going to be like that this season. There'll be a lot of teams that'll sit with two banks of four and make it difficult for you and leave your centre halves on the ball.

"It's up to us to move the ball more quickly and get used to the surface. We'll be playing on that when we're at Alloa, Raith Rovers and Queen of the South.

"For us, it was a good indication of what it's going to be like going forward in certain games.

"On another day we'd maybe have scored two or three but it wasn't to be. We got into good areas and Cowdenbeath defended very well."

One player who didn't feature this afternoon was Andy Irving, with the midfielder having received a call up to the Scotland U21 squad last night. His absence paved the way for 18-year-old Scott McGill to make his senior debut.

"Andy was going to start but we got a phone call last night and he got the call up which is great for Andy. For us, we missed that ability to dictate the game.

"But we brought Scott McGilll in for his debut, which was great for the kid and I thought he did very well. It's an opportunity for him."

Finally, Robbie explained that Naismith's withdrawal at half-time was precautionary. 

"His back was a bit tight so there was no point taking a risk on it so we took him off to get him ready for Tuesday.

"We'll make a few changes but we want to win the games. We want to get that winning mentality back. We didn't win a lot of games last year but now over pre-season and in this Betfred we' have and we want to keep doing it."