Robbie Neilson joy as Hearts stretch lead

Callum Paterson lashes home a superb left'footed volley to score Hearts' second goal. Picture: SNS
Callum Paterson lashes home a superb left'footed volley to score Hearts' second goal. Picture: SNS
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Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson expressed his delight last night at a 2-0 victory over Cowdenbeath that stretched his team’s lead at the top of the Championship to 12 points – but warned that the race for the title was far from over.

Goals from a makeshift strikeforce of James Keatings and Callum Paterson gave the Tynecastle club the three points at Central Park and took their unbeaten league run to 17 games this season.

“I was pelased with that,” Neilson said. “I thought it was quite professional, we stuck at what we tried to do.”

And, to anyone who suggests the Championship title race is over, Neilson added: “I would say there are still 19 games to go and 57 points to play for.”

On his team selection, Neilson said: “We changed the formation a bit and we got our reward. At 1-0, although we were pretty dominant, you were always wary of losing a goal.

“But, once it went to 2-0, it was pretty comfortable and we saw out the game pretty well.

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“At the end Cowdenbeath had a couple of chances when they put men forward.

“But that’s always going to happen when they go gung-ho.

“It was pleasing. I thought Callum gave us a bit more focus. He played there last year and, although he is a right back he gives us a real aerial threat up there. It’s a very narrow pitch and we couldn’t get the wide men into the areas we would have liked.

“We’d worked on him knocking it down to someone else, but he took it a step further when he knocked it down to himself and finished it!

“Callum has fantastic technique and I believe he is destined for the top. He has great physicality and he has the pace and the power to get himself there.

“He just needs to keep working but I can’t ask any more from him. He is desperate to do well.”

Despite his side’s dominant start to the season, Neilson insisted he remained wary of the chasing pack and warned against any complacency.

“A 12-point lead can soon be whittled down. A bad run of form and it’s away. So we need to continue and keep working. The boys will come in tomorrow and we’ll get ready for Livingston. And I think that’s a huge game for us because they and Celtic are the only teams to have beaten us this season. We need to make sure we right that wrong.”

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