First Team

Strategic approach

20th December 2014

Robbie Neilson reveals tactical change for today's match as Hearts record 9th home win on the bounce.

Robbie Neilson hailed his side’s newest style of play as a ‘work in progress’ as the Jambos recorded their 9th home win on the bounce to maintain their 9 point lead at the top of the Scottish Championship.

First-half strikes from James Keatings and Callum Paterson proved the difference as the Gorgie boys dispatched the Petrofac Training Cup Finalists in comfortable fashion, seeing out the remainder of the game without any real concerns.

After the match, the head coach revealed he and his coaching staff tried out a new strategic approach to the match, in a bid to expand their tactical knowledge of how the team can play.

“I thought we played well in the first half. We changed our style of play today”, he explained. “The players were told to sit off the play and try to get Alloa to come out and attack us so we could break on the counter. We gave up possession in their half and I thought it worked quite well.

“We need different ways of winning games, and playing matches, and it worked well enough today but we’ve got more work to do on it. We missed a few chances in the second half, but it’s done now and we’re ready for Cowdenbeath.”

Despite some missed chances in the second half of the game, the Jambos were content to see out the remainder of the match with their 2-0 advantage, as the important rearranged fixture at Central Park on Tuesday evening looms large.

Robbie admitted the game with Cowdenbeath probably had an effect on the side as they played a more conservative style of football for the last half hour of today’s encounter.

“The boys know they have a game on Tuesday so I think that was at the back of their minds. A few of them took their foot off the gas for the last 30 minutes, but they controlled the game and saw it out comfortably. I’m fine with them conserving energy because it’s a huge game coming up.

Finally, as Hearts closed out the first half of their home season as the only side with a 100% record, Robbie commented that, while proud of the team’s performances thus far, he only had eyes for the fixtures yet to come.

“I’m delighted with our home record so far, but those games are all done now, they’re in the past. We have another 9 home games left to play, that’s the important thing. Our focus on on Cowdenbeath and we’re going there to win.”