Robbie Neilson was a relieved man as Hearts overcame a scare from plucky Arbroath to earn a 4-2 victory in an exciting Scottish League Cup encounter at Tynecastle.
David Gold gave the visitors a shock lead just before the interval, before the introduction of Jamie Walker saw a triple whammy of goals inside four minutes to put the Jambos in the driving seat early in the second half.
Jordan McGhee levelled proceedings, before Osman Sow fired home a double. Martin Grehan reduced the deficit with four minutes left, before Walker slotted the ball into the net in time added on to put some gloss on the victory.
Head coach Robbie was the first to admit that the performance was not nearly of the required standard.
“We’ll need to be far better than that on Sunday or we’ll get caught cold,” said Robbie. “The first five minutes were fine, but then we just went flat. We were passing for the sake of passing at times. It wasn’t good enough.
“It was still like a pre-season game, the manner we went about it. Sunday is a totally different ball game. These games are always difficult, I’ve played in them before.
“You’re expected to win and you go through the motions a bit. We discussed things at half time, and we won the tie, that’s the main thing.”
The mixed performance was not something the head coach would be holding against his players in the future, adding that he was pleased for everyone to get more competitive game time following a turbulent pre-season.
“There were boys in the team that wouldn’t normally be there. I’m not going to judge anybody on a bad 45 minutes from tonight. Ozturk, Gomis, Sow haven’t had a lot of pre-season game time, Juanma got some minutes too, but it’s about building them up for Sunday.”
Lastly, Robbie had some good news for supporters as he confirmed Juwon Oshaniwa would indeed be arriving in Edinburgh on Friday morning to complete the move to Hearts which began almost two months ago; although as expected, one more hitch did pop up.
“Oshaniwa’s flight got delayed! He’s on his way again, for the sixth day in a row or something! He’ll arrive this morning and we’ll get him settled and into training right away.”