Robbie Neilson promises response as Hearts suffer Scottish Cup ’embarrassment’

PA Sport Staff
·2-min read

Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson vowed to clear out the remnants of the problems that led to their relegation after the club suffered arguably the worst result in their history.

The Scottish Championship leaders were on the end of a 2-1 defeat against ring-rusty Highland League side Brora Rangers to crash out of the Scottish Cup.

Brora had not played since beating Camelon in the first round on January 11 and had only played three Highland League games in the past 12 months.

But they twice went ahead against a Hearts side who had finished runners-up in the competition in each of the past two years and are 16 points clear in the league.

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Neilson told BBC Radio Scotland’s Sportsound: “Firstly, credit to Brora. Although we had a lot of of possession and chances, we didn’t put the ball away.

“We have remnants of the relegation season still there in the club and we need to deal with it and get it moved out.

“We can’t accept that, it’s an embarrassment for the football club and for all of us involved.

“I knew when I came in here I had to turn round a ship that was heading in the wrong direction. It had three wins out of 30 in the Premiership. We have turned it round in areas but there’s still a lot of work to do.

“Everyone has to question themselves, that’s part of Hearts, and I’m the head coach so I have to question what I’m doing because that’s not good enough.”

Brora manager Steven MacKay had been optimistic ahead of the second-round tie despite massive odds in Hearts’ favour.

“In a normal season this would have been an astronomical result but you throw in the circumstances that surrounded this game: we haven’t played since the first week of January, we have had five training sessions and one friendly and that’s it,” he said.

“We had no right whatsoever to win this game but the character of this group of players is unbelievable and I’m so privileged to be the manager of such an incredible team.

“You won’t believe me, but I said in the dressing room I had a funny feeling we could do something tonight.

“This will come as a massive shock to most but internally we had an inkling that we could do something special.”

Mackay, whose side host Stranraer in the third round, added: “It could potentially have been our last game of the season so we are delighted we are still in the Scottish Cup.”