Hearts boss Robbie Neilson wants team to enjoy themselves

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Head coach Robbie Neilson wants enjoyment back at the top of the menu when Hearts take on Kilmarnock at Tynecastle on Saturday.

The Jambos have won only one of their last five matches in call competitions including a 2-1 defeat at bottom side Dundee United last week but sit comfortably in third place in the Ladbrokes Premiership.

Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson talks to the press ahead of his side's match with Kilmarnock. Picture: SNS

Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson talks to the press ahead of his side's match with Kilmarnock. Picture: SNS

Killie are the first of three visitors to Gorgie in a week, preceding Inverness and Partick Thistle, and Neilson wants his players to enjoy the challenge of trying to catch second-placed Aberdeen, who are 11 points ahead having played a game more.

He said: “We want to create a team here that is enjoying themselves.

“A team that works really hard but do the right things, the energy and enjoyment, players going out and passing it and wanting to take the ball.

“If you watch every team at the moment, it is difficult to sustain that attacking football and passing game because of pitches.

“The pitch at Dundee United last week was really poor, no grass on it, it was windy and difficult to play.

“We tried to pass the ball, we didn’t manage it, neither did Dundee United, in Scotland, December, January, February, it is always difficult to play on these surfaces.

“Yes, we want to play great football but without a great surface it is difficult to do that.

“We have three home games coming up in a week at Tynecastle, a good surface, so we can go and play.

“We have the fans behind us, it is a sell-out tomorrow which is great to try to keep pushing on.

“We want to try to get as close as we can to Aberdeen. We missed an opportunity last week but we have still to play them twice and a game in hand so it is definitely in our hands.”

Hearts and Killie drew their two previous meetings this season but Neilson will take a replica of their performance against the second-bottom Ayrshire side in the 1-1 draw at Tynecastle last October.

The former Hearts defender said: “The 2-2 game down there was a tough game.

“But I thought we played really well in the game at Tynecastle.

“We should have scored a lot more goals and then lost a goal at the end for a 1-1 draw which was disappointing.

“If we can play the way we did in the Tynecastle game we are more than confident we will win.”

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