Robbie Neilson on why Hearts job is just 10 per cent done, Halliday injury update, and back 3 switch

Hearts boss Robbie Neilson has said only ten per cent of the job is complete after defeating Hibs to secure third-place, with 90 per cent still to go.

The Gorgie side ran out comfortable 3-1 winners over their rivals at a packed Tynecastle Park.

It was a result which confirmed the club would finish best of the rest and return to Europe for the first time since 2016.

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However, with a Hampden Park showdown to come next week against Hibs in the Scottish Cup semi-final, Neilson has reminded all those of a Hearts persuasion that the job is nowhere near complete with the league win having no bearing on the cup clash.

Hearts manager Robbie Neilson praised the role of Andy Halliday. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)Hearts manager Robbie Neilson praised the role of Andy Halliday. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)
Hearts manager Robbie Neilson praised the role of Andy Halliday. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

"I was delighted with the result,” he said. “It's a derby, you want to win it. It's really important that with a full house here today we win the game. Sometimes it is not about the performance. Hibs started the game better. They got the goal, pressed us, made it difficult and we didn't settle into the game. It wasn't until probably 25/30 minutes we started to settle down and play. Once that happened we took a bit of control, created chances and thankfully got the goal just before half-time. I think it would have been different if we went in 1-0 down.

“The biggest focus for us has always been the Scottish Cup one but what the key had to be was that we had to make sure the players' focus was on this one.

"Today, ten per cent of the job is done. The other 90 per cent [still to come]. The Scottish Cup allows us to get to a final, win a derby and guarantee European group stage football. So that game's massive.

“I think it has been a decent season but it has got the potential to be a great season if we can win next week.”

Halliday thrives

Neilson confirmed two-goal hero Andy Halliday is “fine” and was taken off as a precaution.

"Andy plays his best when he is under pressure, getting stick from the opposition because he can handle it, thrives off it,” he said.

"Andy, when we had the season with no fans, didn't like it because he needs that so what he does is he takes the ball and tries things. He'll give it away like we all do but he'll keep getting on the ball. I'm delighted for him because it has been a good performance.”

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Hearts changed from a back four to a back three for today’s encounter and Neilson hasn’t ruled out making another tweak next week with Cammy Devlin possibly making a return.

"We felt that with Hibs playing with that narrow three, we needed to get pressure on them,” he said. “We're playing at Tynecastle so we can't allow them to build the game. We needed to get pressure up on top of them.

"There were periods it worked, periods it didn't so we tweaked it a wee bit after 20 minutes and it allowed us to settle down a bit.

“We'll review the game with a wee bit less emotion and see what we think. It will be interesting to see how both camps react – will they stick with their hand or will they change. It will be a different game.”

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