First Team

We must improve in final third

7th May 2016

Robbie Neilson bemoaned Hearts' lack of cutting edge in attack during their 1-1 draw against The Staggies.

Robbie Neilson felt Hearts paid the price for their lack of cutting edge in attack during the 1-1 draw against Ross County.

Juanma scored six minutes from time to give Hearts the lead, but David Goodwillie levelled the match just three minutes later to seal a draw for The Staggies.

Speaking to the media post-match, Robbie expressed his disappointment at his team's inability to carve out more clear-cut opportunities.

“We’re disappointed that we didn’t see the game out, having gotten into a winning position,” said Neilson. “We lost a really slack goal because we couldn’t deal with a long ball. The first half in particular highlighted our problem at the moment.

“We passed the ball around well, but we didn’t have any shots on goal and barely even got into the box. When we actually started going at them and getting balls into the area, we caused them problems.

“At the moment, we aren’t creating enough chances for our strikers. We’re still not playing to Juanma’s strengths, which isn’t fair to him. Dauda and Reilly both need players to supply them with chances too.

“If we can supply our strikers, they’ve proven that they’re capable of taking their chances, but at the moment we’re not doing it enough, so it’s not down to the forwards.”

Robbie also found the time to praise young keeper Jack Hamilton, the stopper making an impressive save from Alex Schalk as he gets some first team game time towards the end of the season.

Revealing his plans to send Jack out on loan for the entirety of next season, Neilson confirmed he saw the potential in Hamilton to one day be Hearts' first choice goalkeeper.

“We want Jack to get some games at the end of this season and then go and play 35-40 games next season,” he explained. “Then he can come back and we’ll see where he is. I thought he did really well today.

“We won’t know if he’s going to be Neil’s natural successor until he’s had a season playing games week in and week out. We think he has the potential to be our goalkeeper, but he has to go and prove it.”