First Team

Reaction: Robbie Neilson

13th October 2020

Robbie Neilson reserved special praise for hat-trick hero Craig Wighton following the Jambos’ 3-1 Betfred Cup victory over Raith Rovers.

The manager made eight changes to the side that beat Cowdenbeath on Saturday, with a number of youngsters given the chance to impress under the Tynecastle lights.

One man in particular stole the show, however, and Robbie was quick to praise the striker for his efforts.

“I’m delighted for Craig, to be honest with you. I’ve said since I came in that I really like him, I’ve known him since he was a young kid up at Dundee,” Robbie explained.

“I watched him a lot and tried to sign him here. I know what potential he’s got and he’s starting to fulfil that.

“We knew Liam Boyce would be away during this period so we used the pre-season games to build Craig up. You’ve now got a player who’s fit and hungry to prove himself.”

The manager was also pleased to see his side pick up their third straight Betfred Cup victory despite making a raft of changes to the starting eleven.

“For me, the Betfred games are just a warm-up for the league games to be honest with you. Obviously, we want to progress so we make sure we prepare properly but now we’re ready to start business.

“We made a number of changes tonight, eight in total from Saturday and we still won. We’ve spoken about a winning mentality and I think it’s important at Hearts that whoever goes on that Tynecastle pitch is a winner."

Finally, Robbie provided an update on Steven Naismith and Andy Halliday who both missed out tonight.

“Naisy was desperate to play but we wanted to make sure he was all good for Friday and Andy’s still building himself up fitness wise.”