Robbie Neilson last night toasted a second “huge stride” for Hearts in successive years after clinching European football. But the scoreless draw in Inverness was tinged with disappointment for the Tynecastle head coach who admitted catching Aberdeen, now eight points ahead in the race for the second place, would be very difficult.
“Obviously it is good to get the point and secure that European place, but the disappointment is we didn’t take three. I was hoping to come up here and take three points. We didn’t do enough to win the game.
“European football is great for the club. Obviously top six was the aim this year so to be able to secure European football before the split is great for us. We’ve taken two huge strides over the course of the last two seasons – one, getting out of the Championship and the next one getting into Europe. It’s important to try and build on that over the summer and keep that positive momentum going.”
Reflecting on the gap on Aberdeen of eight points, Neilson said: “It’s going to be very difficult to do, but we’ll keep trying. Ultimately, Aberdeen are in the driving seat and it’s up to them to avoid dropping points and allow us to get close to them.”
Home manager John Hughes wasn’t about to gloss over the inadequacies of the spectacle. “It wasn’t a great game. The two sides cancelled each other out and matched up. We were spirited and organised but we just lacked that final pass.”