Under-fire Neilson vows to get Hearts back on track after latest defeat
Robbie Neilson is adamant he can ride out the current storm and get Hearts motoring again despite coming under fire from supporters after his beleaguered side crashed to a fifth consecutive defeat.
The Jambos boss endured calls for his head from the stands and was loudly jeered at full-time when he walked on to the pitch to shake hands with his opponents and applaud the fans after his 10-man team lost 2-0 at home to St Mirren.
The result saw the Jambos, who had been third since the start of 2023, slip down to fourth place in the cinch Premiership after being overtaken by an Aberdeen team who trailed them by 10 points just two months ago.
Asked if he believed he could turn things round, Neilson was in defiant mood.
“Yes, of course I do,” he said. “I’ve done it before and it’s part of being a manager.
“You’re not going to win every single game and we’re going through this period which has been difficult, but we have to continue to believe in what we’re doing and the processes we’re having.
“We have to build the players’ confidence and then get through it.”
Neilson insists he understands the fans’ frustrations.
“Listen, it’s part of football,” he said. “I’ve been a manager for 350 to 400 games, I know that when you get poor results there’s going to be negativity.
“That’s part of the game. If you don’t accept that then you shouldn’t be in the game.
“The job of the manager and the coaching staff and the players is to try and turn that round. We’ve managed to do that before and we’ll have to do it again.”
St Mirren claimed their victory courtesy of a Curtis Main goal and a strike from Mark O’Hara that deflected in off Alex Gogic before the hosts were reduced to 10 men when Robert Snodgrass was shown a second yellow.
The win took the Buddies five points clear of seventh-place Livingston and kept them on course for their first top-six finish since the Premiership split was introduced more than two decades ago.
“We started not the way we usually do, and for the first 20 minutes there was nervousness from both sides,” said boss Stephen Robinson.
“We were caught between whether to press high or sit where we usually sit. But we changed it after 20 minutes, and after that we felt comfortable and forced Hearts into areas that we wanted them to play in and took the ball off them.
“Our decision-making wasn’t as good in the first half, but in the second half it was excellent. Obviously the red card changes the game and we felt in control after that.
“Hearts are a good side who have players who can change the game so we had to concentrate and be disciplined. Credit to the players to win at a very, very difficult venue.”