Robbie Neilson dismisses notion Hearts are team of divers

Tony Watt was booked after going to ground against Hamilton. Picture: SNS
Tony Watt was booked after going to ground against Hamilton. Picture: SNS
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Hearts boss Robbie Neilson does not think his side are in danger of picking up a reputation for diving.

The Jambos boss was waiting for news this morning on whether he has been successful with an appeal to the yellow card striker Tony Watt was shown for an alleged act of simulation during Saturday’s 3-1 win over Hamilton.

We’ve gone in the space of two or three weeks from being called a big physical, aggressive players to now being lightweight and falling down in the box.

Robbie Neilson

The same match saw winger Sam Nicholson criticised after he appeared to go down softly while winning a second-half penalty and follows the two-match ban dished out to Jamie Walker after he was punished for taking a tumble in the opening-day defeat to Celtic.

But Neilson insists it is the attacking threat of his side and not theatrics which is the reason why they have won four spot-kicks already this season.

The Tynecastle head coach said: “I don’t think [we’re getting a reputation for diving]. We’re a team, especially at Tynecastle, who dominates possession and have more shots and more penalty-box entries than anyone else in the Premiership.

“So we are going to get in situations where we’re one v one with players and opposition players are going to make mistakes with their tackles, so there will be penalties in the games we play.

“We just hope the referees aren’t looking back and seeing instances in the past.

“When you win games people are always going to have a nibble at you. We’ve gone in the space of two or three weeks from being called a big physical, aggressive players to now being lightweight and falling down in the box.

“That’s what happens when you win football matches. People ask, ‘Why are they beating us? Why are the sitting second in the league?’

“The reason is that we’ve got a good team with good players who get themselves in positions to put people under pressure.”

Watt hit the deck half an hour into the Gorgie victory over Accies following a challenge by defender Shaun Want.

Referee Craig Thomson felt the player had gone to ground too easily but Hearts are confident footage showing clear contact being made on Scotland hitman Watt will see him cleared.

Neilson said: “There’s a hearing today at 11am. We feel it was the wrong decision and that’s the reason we appealed it.

“Tony has gone down in the box and there was contact. Martin Canning, the Hamilton manager, has viewed it himself and said it was a stonewall penalty.

“So we’re going through to put our case and hopefully justice is done.”

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