Robbie Neilson was delighted to wrap up third place and European football this afternoon – but insisted that all attention now turns to Hampden next week.
It was a dream derby for the JTs at a sun-kissed Tynecastle – coming back from an early goal to send Hibs packin, following three critical goals from Andy Halliday and Stephen Kingsley.
Robbie was thrilled that the boys in maroon showed the character required to claim the first win of the double-header.
“We’re delighted to get that secured. We didn’t start the game well, but we came on to a good game and controlled it towards the end,” he told Hearts TV.
“It’s great getting third in the league but next Saturday is the most important one for us. It was important to keep the players focused on this one. We managed to do that and put it to bed. It’s onto next week now because that’s the one that gets us to a final.
“To Hibs’ credit, I thought they started the game really well. They made it difficult for us to settle. We didn’t really create a lot of chances – they then take control for about ten to fifteen minutes. Simms and Atkinson have chances and then we get the equaliser before half time.
“That gave us the belief that we could push on.”
The day we reached Europe will be long remembered by the 19,000+ fans inside Tynie today, marking our first return to European football since the 2015/16 campaign.
With years of service to the club as both a player and manager, Robbie knows exactly what it meant to all of a maroon persuasion to clinch that third spot and the rewards that come with it.
“I’m delighted – this club should be there. I’ve always believed that, even when I was a player. Year on year, we want European football. We should be in those positions – be it group stage or qualifiers,” he added.
“The backing we had today was unreal. A full house, the place was rocking. With the Foundation of Hearts and benefactors putting money in, and with 20,000 tickets sold for Hampden next week. This is where Hearts should be.”