Hearts call for realism after Aberdeen defeat as updates given on Peter Haring and Andy Halliday

Robbie Neilson has urged for realism to be applied after Hearts suffered more misfortune in a 2-0 defeat to Aberdeen at Pittodrie.

Hearts manager Robbie Neilson and his assistant Lee McCulloch discuss matters at Pittodrie.
Hearts manager Robbie Neilson and his assistant Lee McCulloch discuss matters at Pittodrie.

The Tynecastle side lost Andy Halliday and Peter Haring to injury at both ends of the game. In between times, goals from Luis Lopes and substitute Vicente Besuijen consigned the visitors to a tenth loss in 14 games.

Hearts were already denied Nathaniel Atkinson, who was injured in the 5-1 defeat to Fiorentina in Italy on Thursday night. They now have as many as 11 first-team players on the sidelines as they prepare to host Celtic at Tynecastle on Saturday. Haring is certain to miss out out due to concussion guidelines after he collapsed to the turf following an aerial challenge.

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“He’s got concussion, he is fine now, it has settled down a bit,” confirmed the Hearts manager afterwards. “He’ll be assessed over the next couple of days. It was concerning, but the medical staff were straight out and took care of him. There is always that worry but we’ll make sure we look after him. Andy Halliday’s (injury) was when someone raked down the back of his Achilles, it’s another contact injury, there’s nothing we can do about that. We’ll see how he is for next week.”

Neilson stressed that the target is reaching the World Cup break in the middle of next month still in touch with third place. Hearts are currently seventh but have a game in hand over Hibs, who are third. “We just need to dig it out and get through it," maintained Neilson. "If we get to the World Cup break in a position where we can kick on, it will be massive for us. It would allow us to hopefully get into the same position as last year, finishing third, getting European football and giving the players the experience of that in back-to-back seasons. That’s the objective. We aim to win every game but we also need to be realistic and say: ‘Where are we at the moment?’ Right now we have a number of players injured but huge games coming up – RFS, Istanbul away, Celtic, and then it settles down and we can really start to kick on.”