Robbie Neilson was thrilled as Hearts put in a superb performance to knock Aberdeen out of the William Hill Scottish Cup in this evening’s pulsating encounter at Tynecastle.
Callum Paterson nodded home the only goal of the game after just three minutes to put the Jambos in front, in a highly impressive and powerful performance against the title contenders from the north.
A solid rearguard display was the foundation for the victory, with outstanding performances from Paterson, Alim Ozturk, Blazej Augustyn and Igor Rossi keeping out the Aberdeen front line.
“We’re really pleased to get through, especially against one of the top teams in Scotland,” said Neilson. “Aberdeen are the team we’re looking to overhaul at the moment, so to know we can beat them is a great boost.
“We played some great football in the first half, passed the ball well and created chances. We should have killed the game off while we were on top.
“Aberdeen showed why they’re a top team in Scotland with how they responded,” he continued. “They came into it in the second half but I thought we defended really well and we deserved the win.”
Some accusations have been levelled at Hearts, accusing the side of being unable to manage a lead, but the head coach dismissed this claim, stating the team just had to put their chances away more clinically.
“I’ve got good players, and we don’t have a problem managing games when we’re ahead, it’s just a case of capitalising when we’re on top,” he explained. “We can beat anyone here on our day, but we need to do it consistently.
“We need to kill games on while on top, we’ve lost too many points from not putting teams away, like Kilmarnock at home and away, so that’s something we need to improve on, but the defence won us the game today.”
Revealing that the team had worked on set-pieces during the week, the head coach revealed his joy at the hard work in training coming to fruition, as the Jambos took the lead from their first corner.
Additionally, with the physical presence of the Aberdeen side, Robbie knew his team would need to hold firm and defend well from the dangerous deliveries that the Dons are renowned for.
“I thought the defence was outstanding today, as was the defending from the whole team, including Osman and Gavin up front. We worked on set pieces during the week, so to get a goal was pleasing, especially so early.
“Aberdeen have a lot of physical players, so we knew we had to make our chances count, and defend well from set pieces as they have good delivery.
“We rode our luck a bit in the second half, but when you play so well, sometimes you deserve a bit of luck at the end of the day.”