Robbie Neilson didn’t mince his words in his assessment of Sunday’s Edinburgh derby defeat at Easter Road.
Hearts lost 2-0 to city rivals Hibs, and the head coach pulled no puches when was asked to appraise the way his team had played.
Stating that his players had failed to show the required ‘hunger and desire’ to win the match, Neilson bemoaned the way his side had failed to impose themselves on the game.
“My complaints are that we never performed as well as I expect the players to,” said Neilson. “We didn’t do what we were meant to do, and as a result we had to change things.
“We were already 1-0 down by that point. The second half was a bit better, but to be honest, the players didn’t have the desire today and that’s the worst thing.
“The hunger wasn’t there today,” he continued. “It’s alright doing it against Livingston, Dumbarton, Alloa and the rest, and we’ve done it consistently but the past week has not been good enough.”
When questioned if the two defeats to Rangers and Hibs in the past week were a warning, Robbie agreed that the players would be in for a shock if they thought they could win games regularly next season in the same manner.
“They’ll need to learn quickly because they’re not going to have it all their own way next season in the top league," he said. "We’ll be at Celtic Park, Tannadice, Pittodrie next season.
“We’ll be up against bigger and better teams than anyone we’ve faced this season, and my question to the players is - are you ready for that?”
Finally, Neilson set his side a target for the remaining fixtures. Hearts face Raith Rovers and Rangers at home, and have one final trip to Central Park to face Cowdenbeath.
The head coach praised the Hearts support and claimed anything less than going out with three victories this season wouldn’t be acceptable to him.
“I hate that we haven’t performed for the fans after the support they’ve given us this season. We’ve got three games left. I want nine points, I want three wins.
“We lost 1 game in 31, now we’ve lost two games in three. That isn’t acceptable. We need to start being the dominant team again.”