First Team

Robbie: Focusing on the title

24th January 2015

Robbie Neilson disappointed to lose unbeaten record, but insists focus is fully on winning league.

Robbie Neilson was realistic in his assessment of Hearts’ first defeat in the league this season, as Falkirk earned a deserved three points in a thrilling game.

Despite taking the lead through Genero Zeefuik’s opener, the Bairns turned the game around to lead through John Baird and Rory Loy’s fantastic long-range effort. James Keatings levelled the match, but a slip from Morgaro Gomis allowed Craig Sibbald to earn a famous win for the away side.

After the match, the head coach praised Peter Houston’s side and admitted his team just couldn’t match the intensity of the visitors.

“We started the game well, and I was hopeful we’d build on it,” said Neilson. “The two strikers linked up well for the opening goal, but to their credit Falkirk were fantastic. They pressed us, made it difficult and their wide players caused us trouble.

“We’re smart enough to know an unbeaten season was unrealistic. We’ve been in fantastic form, but this was always going to happen eventually. I’m more disappointed in the manner of the goals we lost today.”

When asked how he had addressed the players in the wake of their first league defeat since early May, Robbie revealed he saw no need to give his players the ‘hairdryer treatment’ because their form up until now has been so consistent, but did infer that he reminded the players of the standards expected at Hearts.

“I was calm in the dressing room. I told them that you’ll need to lose some games as well as win them. Statistically, we knew it wasn’t likely for us to go the whole season unbeaten. We pride ourselves on our defensive record, so that needs looked at.

“No team in the world can go seasons upon seasons without defeat. It’s not realistic, so there’ll be no shouting and bawling from me today. We didn’t hit our standards, Falkirk did. The lads are devastated but it’s my job to keep their heads up and use it as a catalyst to improve, because we have a title to try and win."