First Team

Robbie: Never say die

2nd May 2015

Head coach hails champion spirit from team as they strike late to deny Rangers.

Robbie Neilson was delighted in the aftermath of Hearts’ dramatic draw with Rangers on the day that the SPFL Championship trophy was finally delivered to Tynecastle.

Falling to a 2-0 deficit at the interval after a fiery first half, the Jambos rescued a point with two goals in the last 10 minutes - including a stoppage time equaliser - from Genero Zeefuik.

“It was a brilliant way to end the season,” said Neilson. “It almost felt like a win, to come back in that style. In a way, it sums up our whole season. We have belief and we fight until the end.

“We wanted to win, or at least get something from it. I couldn’t believe we were 2-0 down, we got into good positions and were wasteful. We lost two bad goals, but a draw was the least we deserved.”

Two players who look set to be leaving Tynecastle are skipper Danny Wilson - who announced his intention to leave at the end of his contract - and Genero Zeefuik, who will return to his parent club.

The head coach had some special words of praise for the departing duo, as they signed off with a bang - Wilson lifting the trophy, and Zeefuik hitting a double to end the season as top scorer at the club.

“It was great for Danny to get the trophy today, he deserves it,” continued Robbie. “As a young coach coming in, your captain can make life difficult but he immediately backed me in training when I told the boys how I wanted to play.

“We won’t want to lose him, but I understand his reasons for leaving so he’ll depart with fond memories and the best wishes from everyone here.

“With Genero, he did everything asked of him from the moment he arrived. We needed someone to lead the line, and he was brilliant. To get 12 goals in under 4 months just shows his quality.

“We’d love to keep him, but he’s got a few years left at Groningen and he’s on good money - he took a wage cut to join us - so it’ll be difficult to sign him, but if that’s the case we thank him and wish him all the best too.”

Finally, Robbie reserved special plaudits for club owner Ann Budge, who brought the championship trophy onto the pitch for the presentation and celebrations.

“Ann deserved her moment with the trophy, she’s the one who saved the club. If it wasn’t for her, this wouldn’t have happened today, we wouldn’t be here today.

“She loves the club, and wants the best for everyone. She’s not in it for her own personal gain, and to have someone like that running the club for the fans is nothing short of a blessing.”