Robbie Neilson: We got fans to clap - even if I’m not allowed

Hearts manager Robbie Neilson was sent to the stand during the 1-0 defeat by St Johnstone. Picture: SNS

Hearts manager Robbie Neilson was sent to the stand during the 1-0 defeat by St Johnstone. Picture: SNS

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Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson has escaped a touchline ban after being sent to the stand during Saturday’s 1-0 defeat by St Johnstone.

Neilson was dismissed from the technical area by referee John Beaton with 14 minutes remaining at McDiarmid Park and later claimed it 
had been for “sarcastically clapping”.

Ross County manager Jim McIntyre disagreed with one of his player's comments that the Staggies can finish above Rangers this season. Picture: SNS

Ross County manager Jim McIntyre disagreed with one of his player's comments that the Staggies can finish above Rangers this season. Picture: SNS

The Tynecastle boss – who was able to watch the remainder of the game from a spare seat just behind the Hearts dugout – was accused of 
dissent by fourth official Mike Roncone and the incident included in Beaton’s official match report submitted to the SFA.

The matter was considered by SFA compliance officer Tony McGlennan yesterday but the lawyer has decided against issuing a notice of complaint or the offer of a touchline ban, something Neilson was adamant after the match he would fight.

Instead, the SFA have written to Neilson and Hearts warning him of his future conduct.

Meanwhile, Neilson hopes the Hearts fans were able to appreciate their side’s display against St Johnstone, despite defeat. Around 2,500 supporters made the trip to McDiarmid Park for the match but left 
disappointed after Hearts could not make their overall dominance count.

Saints goalkeeper Zander Clark kept efforts by Faycal 
Rherras, Jamie Walker, Tony Watt and Igor Rossi at bay and Graham Cummins denied the Gorgie side the chance to temporarily go top of the Premiership with his 58th-minute winner.

Neilson was full of praise for his team afterwards, insisting he was prepared to lose games playing the “right way”, and is optimistic the supporters can see the players’ efforts.

Neilson said: “The support was phenomenal, absolutely phenomenal. It’s great that they followed us and I hope they went away entertained.

“They will be disappointed, as we are, with the result and the outcome, but I think we entertained them.

“We created chances, we got them off their seats, and we got them to clap – even though I’m not allowed to! They are behind us, and the players gave everything. I can’t ask any more of the players and the disappointing thing is we didn’t get what we deserved.”

Next up for Hearts is the visit of Ross County to Tynecastle on Saturday. The Staggies will go into the match in good spirits following their 0-0 draw at Ibrox at the weekend, although manager Jim McIntyre yesterday disagreed with the comments by his defender, Andrew Davies, who claimed County can 
finish above Rangers in the Premiership this season.

“Dava has been asked a question after the match, but 
I think over the course of a season Rangers have a 
stronger squad than we have,” said McIntrye. “We know we’re capable, on our day, of beating anyone. But what we do is concentrate on one game at a time. The message is we don’t fear going anywhere.”

Ahead of the clash with Hearts, McIntyre added: “We never threatened Rangers enough. Going to play Hearts we want to threaten more. That’s the one side of the game where we normally do better.

“When you’re defending a bit deeper you have to make sure when you win the ball back your passing is crisp and you counter quickly.”

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