BY DARREN JOHNSTONE @CCP_Sport
Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson insists Kilmarnock’s plastic pitch is not fit for purpose after seeing his side being held at Rugby Park.
But Neilson is adamant that his criticism of the synthetic surface is not sour grapes after Killie striker Josh Magennis netted a late equaliser in a 2-2 draw.
Saturday’s clash was the second time that Hearts have played in Ayrshire this season having already beaten Kilmarnock 3-2 in September’s League Cup tie.
Even though Neilson concedes that the performances of his team was also a significant contributing factor to the result, he admits that the synthetic grass did not help.
He said: “It’s not ideal. I don’t want to be too harsh on it, sometimes when you say it after getting beat or having a draw it’s sour grapes but I think it’s something we need to have a look at.
“There are a lot of people sliding about and you’re worried people are going to get injured on it.
“I’m all for astroturf as long as they’re looked after but if they’re not looked after then it can be a hazard at times.”
Neilson reckons three points were there for the taking on Saturday and he has urged his players to start showing a ruthless streak in the final third.
Speaking ahead of Saturday’s Scottish Cup fourth round visit of Aberdeen, he added: “We’re going through a wee period that we’re not taking chances.
“We’ve got to do that, there was a period when we were 2-1 up that I could feel that if we went for the jugular and got another goal, we would have won it convincingly but the players have got to sense that as well.
“That’s the period when we have to go up a gear, not sit back and drop down a gear to try and defend a lead. We have to learn how to do that.”
Hearts go into the weekend’s match with the Dons looking for their first win of the season against Derek McInnes’ side following two Premiership losses.
Speaking to Hearts TV, Neilson added: “It’s a huge game for the club, we want to try and win trophies and the Scottish Cup is a great opportunity for us to do that.”