Robbie Neilson tipped to manage Scotland as Rangers' Michael Beale explains why he rates Hearts boss so highly
The pair will be in opposition in their current roles for the first time when their teams meet at Tynecastle on Wednesday evening. And Beale believes the strides that Neilson has made with the third-placed Gorgie side following their Europa League group campaign - they are unbeaten in nine games - is allowing his Hearts rival to expand a CV that will prick the attention of the SFA when the time eventually comes to finding a successor for Steve Clarke.
“I look and I think he is getting experience playing in Europe, it is his second time there [at Tynecastle],” said Beale of Neilson’s burgeoning reputation. “He has built the strongest squad that Hearts have had in a long time. Robbie has been going great guns and I honestly believe that European football, group stage football, really kicks you up a notch in terms of belief. You play teams outside of Scotland and bring the belief back. You see different things and once you have smelled that and tasted it, it is something you want again moving forward. It is no surprise to me why their form has been really good and Robbie has done a good job in both times he has been at Hearts.
“I met Robbie many years ago when he came down to spend a day at Liverpool. He came down and I met him then, that was the first time I had come across him. Didn’t really speak to him much, just said hello, and then you follow people’s careers. He had a go down at MK Dons and has come back and done ever such a good job, taken them into Europe. They have got a strong squad that are playing well so I’m looking at the younger Scottish coaches. I think Clarkey is doing a great job but I’m sure the SFA are looking and thinking ‘okay, who have we got from the next generation?’ and I think he is probably one they have eyes on down the road.”
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