Treble treble talk is premature and dangerous, warns manager

Robbie Neilson believes all talk of Celtic securing an historic third treble is “premature” and hopes his old mentor Craig Levein can cause an upset at Hampden.

Dundee United manager Robbie Neilson. Picture: SNS
Dundee United manager Robbie Neilson. Picture: SNS

Former Hearts head coach Neilson, who was in the dug-out at Tynecastle from 2014-2016 with Levein as his director of football, is thrilled to see him getting the chance to compete with Neil Lennon’s men in Saturday’s Scottish Cup final.

Neilson was brought through the youth ranks at Hearts during Levein’s first spell as Tynecastle manager, and reckons he has the potential to upset the odds in the final.

“Everyone is already talking about the treble treble and what an achievement it is. But the premature talk can be dangerous,” Neilson said. “I’m sure Craig, the coaching staff and everyone else at Hearts will be the ones wanting to put an end to it.

“Hearts are going into that game with everyone talking about that historic feat. It’s as if it’s already done. So the pressure is definitely off Hearts. They can go there and have a real go while all the pressure is on Celtic.

“I think when you go to Hampden and play against these big teams, you have one team who’re the overwhelming favourites and expected to turn over whoever they’re up against that day. But Craig will have Hearts in their faces. I’m delighted for him to get to the cup final, and I really hope he can do it.

“He absolutely deserves it for the amount of work he has put into Hearts – as director of football and now back there as manager.

“I think if any manager can do it, then it’s Craig. He’s been a very successful manager who knows the game inside-out. He’s set teams up in the past to best bigger teams which he’s done.

“It will be an interesting game. I just hope they go out there and get a rub of the green as well. I think you need that going to Glasgow on such a big occasion. A strong referee will be important as well. You don’t want it to hinge on a decision.”