First Team

Result is all that matters

8th November 2014

Head coach admits Hearts didn't play well enough but happy with three points.

Robbie Neilson admitted his side would need to step up their play if they want to maintain their current position at the top of the Scottish Championship, as Raith Rovers gave Hearts a scare in today's game at Tynecastle.

Despite taking an early lead - courtesy of another Alim Öztürk thunderbolt - the Jambos struggled to gain a further advantage in the match as the Fifers provided stubborn resistance throughout, and had the Gorgie Boys on the backfoot for the last ten minutes after Adam Eckersley's injury left Hearts a man short.

"The result was more important and impressive than the performance, if I'm honest. We started really well and I thought we'd build on that, but we got selfish at times. The boys made the wrong runs, didn't use the ball well enough and it wasn't happening for us. However, it gives us something to work on, so we'll get the boys in tomorrow and try to fix it."

Hailed as the hero in the derby match of a fortnight previously, Alim Öztürk proved he wasn't a 'one hit wonder' after his "one in a thousand" effort against Hibs proved to be a taster of things to come, as the Turkish defender strode into the Raith half and, roared on by 16,000 fans urging him to shoot, lashed the ball home from 35 yards past David McGurn.

"Another week, another lucky goal for Alim it seems", said Robbie. "He does it all the time in training as we've said. He works on his shooting all the time and the more he practices, the luckier he gets. It's great to have a centre-half who'll step up into the opposition half, because the defence will see him as a goal threat. If he's not closed down, he'll shoot but if they do close the space, it creates room for other attackers."

In addition to losing Eckersley through injury late in the match, Hearts had to do without the services of Osman Sow today, the Swedish attacker missing the game with a thigh injury, but the head coach revealed it was simply a precaution, stating: "The pitch was heavy today, so we didn't want to risk him. Falkirk have astroturf, so that won't be an issue next week and he'll be back for that. Adam has a hip knock, so we'll see how he is in a few days."

Finally, on a hugely emotional day for everyone associated with Heart of Midlothian and Raith Rovers, a fine tribute to the memory of McCrae's Battalion was observed pre-game with a bagpipe performance by the Band of the Royal Scots Association. A veteran of the club, Robbie understood just how important a day it was for the club.

"It's a huge part of the club's history. The players and fans all know what it means, so today was a big day and a big occasion. We'll be in tomorrow at 8 to train, then we'll go to the Remembrance Service as a team. It's always very special to be a part of."