Robbie Neilson conceded his side didn’t play to the best of their abilities today, but admitted his overall satisfaction as Hearts ground out a 1-0 win over Livingston today at Tynecastle.
Jamie Walker’s first-half goal proved the difference in a tough match, although Livingston were reduced to ten men when Nejc Praprotnik saw red for hacking down Prince Buaben.
After the match, the head coach stated he knew his team could offer a lot more than they showed, despite the win.
“We’ve got lots to work on, from what I saw today. Our final pass wasn’t good enough, we were sloppy in possession but I’m happy because I want us to work on improving.”
The Jambos extended their lead at the top of the Scottish Championship to 20 points, as they took advantage of Rangers’ 2-0 defeat at Ibrox against Hibs last night. That opportunity, Robbie said, was something the players initially struggled with.
“Rangers losing last night added a bit of pressure,” revealed Neilson. “The boys were all aware that we had the chance to extend the lead even further. We’ve got an extra cushion with the twenty points now.”
Jamie Walker netted his eighth goal of an increasingly impressive season, as the winger slalomed round Darren Jamieson to open the scoring, and Neilson was ebullient in his praise of the Hearts #7.
“Jamie Walker is a fantastic player. Since New Year, he’s really come onto top form. We had Sam at the start of the season, then Billy King was the man for us in the autumn, and now Jamie. I’m lucky to have them all.”
Finally, Robbie made his case that the remainder of games Hearts will face this season will be similar to today’s matches, as we get into the business end of the season.
“I’ve said it before, these are all difficult games now,” said Robbie. “We’ve played Livingston five times this season and it’s only February, so it’s difficult to make a change they won’t see coming.
“We tried to do things differently and not everything worked, but we got over the line and at this stage it’s all about points on the board.
“I don’t care how we get the points at this point. The win is all that matters, and we’re one win closer to the title now.”