First Team

Robbie: It starts on Tuesday

3rd October 2020

Robbie Neilson was happy to pick up another friendly win on Friday but insists pre-season results mean nothing when competitive action begins.

Hearts put two past Partick Thistle without reply, thanks to second-half goals from Jamie Walker and Andy Irving.

With Inverness Caledonian Thistle lying in wait on Tuesday night, when the Jambos kick-off their Betfred Cup campaign, the manager knows that pre-season will be instantly forgotten about as the men in maroon aim to start their season with a bang.

“I was pleased with the work-rate, getting another result and a clean sheet,” he said. “I still think it will take a few competitive games to get going. Friendlies are good but there are a lot of changes during the games, we made ten at half-time, and it kind of dies of death.

“It’s been a decent pre-season but it means nothing. We go into the game on Tuesday and that’s when it really starts.

“I feel we’re in a good place but I’ve been in loads of pre-seasons where you win all the games, then you lose your first few competitive games. And vice-versa. It means nothing. It’s about Tuesday night now.”

Robbie gave new signings Andy Halliday and Mihai Popescu their first taste of life in a maroon shirt on Friday, and although Andy was replaced shortly before half time, the manager believes the midfielder will be okay and both players will need eased in to the first team.

“He is fine, he just had a tight thigh,” said Robbie. “That’s his first game since March and he’s only trained for a few days. We were going to take him off at half-time anyway. I think he will be okay, we will just let it settle down.

“We will need to use the Betfred and some league games as well to ease him in because it’s a long time he’s been out.

“I was pleased with Mihai as well. He is also not up to full fitness yet, that’s the first time he has joined the squad so it was good to get him out there. I think he will add a lot.”