3 burning issues as Hearts fall to Fiorentina defeat

3 burning issues as Hearts fall to Fiorentina defeat
3 burning issues as Hearts fall to Fiorentina defeat

Fiorentina opener dampens Tynecastle spirits

TYNECASTLE has rightly earned the reputation for being a difficult place for away teams to go.

This should have been the case again with Fiorentina the visitors, but a fourth minute opener dampened the often-electric atmosphere inside the stadium.

Hearts supporters were understandably dismayed by a timid first-half showing but rallied to back their team who looked much-improved for a period despite their numbers disadvantage in the second period.

If Hearts can keep the crowd fully engaged with a solid start in their remaing home match in the competition then they'll have a much better chance.

Blunt in attack

ROBBIE Neilson will be bitterly disappointed to lose by a three-goal margin - especially when his side looked so poor in the final third.

With a back-five preferred it was obvious there would be limitations going forward, but Hearts struggled to carve any real sights of goal.

Josh Ginnelly had just about the only real opportunity and even that came from a defensive mishap from the Fiorentina rearguard.

An improved attacking showing will be required to pick up results in the back-half of the Europa Conference League group stage.

Costly lesson for Lewis Neilson

LEWIS Neilson was perhaps unlucky to see a straight red card early in the second period.

The young defender was ordered off just three minutes after the restart for a tug on Luka Jovic's shirt as the last line of the Hearts defence.

Belgian referee Erik Lambrechts was quick to produce the red card with Neilson judged to have denied a clear goalscoring opportunity.

But with little chance of Jovic catching the ball which bounced harmlessly into Craig Gordon's arms the decision was possibly a touch harsh.

It was undoubtedly a foul, and will be a costly lesson for Neilson who learned the hard way that severe punishment can be dished out for a momentary lapse in concentration.