Hearts strength showed Auchinleck respect says Talbot boss Tommy Sloan

Tommy Sloan isn’t used to seeing Auchinleck Talbot lose, nevermind 5-0, but he actually took defeat from Hearts as a compliment.

Robbie Neilson named a strong side to face the West of Scotland side – with Hearts knowing all too well the perils of non-league teams after last year’s seismic shock and elimination from Brora Rangers of the Highland League.

There was no such surprise at Beechwood Park as Talbot, one of the biggest names in Junior football and now the lower reaches of the pyramid, were comprehensively beaten by a strong Hearts side.

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But the strength shown from the visitors was a testament to his players and the team’s reputation, Sloan believed: “They showed us respect with the team they put out but I was a bit gutted about that! Fair play to Robbie, he came down to watch us last week, so he's not taken any chances – I knew we'd be up against it.”

Auchinleck Manager Tommy Sloan.  (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)Auchinleck Manager Tommy Sloan.  (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)
Auchinleck Manager Tommy Sloan. (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)

Hearts did not include John Souttar in the visiting defence but Craig Halkett was rarely troubled and Craig Gordon saw limited action, though Sloan insists there is no shame in defeat to the third-placed Premiership team.

"There's a big gulf. We were playing against top-class players, and it showed. I was disappointed we got beat 5-0 and not one of my players got booked. I'd rather we were a wee bit more aggressive.

“We were a bit disjointed in the first half and the body language wasn't great, but there was a better spirit about us in the second half even though Hearts went on to score a few more goals. There's no shame in that for me.”

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