Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson reckons his team’s tactics caught Aberdeen by surprise after admitting that they had become too predicable.
The Tynecastle outfit’s high-pressing game paid off on Saturday after Callum Paterson’s third minute goal was enough to claim a Scottish Cup fourth round victory.
Hearts refused to allow their visitors to settle in a first half dominated by Neilson’s side and even though the Dons improved after the break, the Gorgie outfit were still the deserved winners.
Hearts had drawn five out of their last seven Premiership matches prior to the cup tie and Neilson was delighted that his team showed they are not just a one trick pony.
He said: “At times this season we’ve been predictable in what we do and we’re trying to work on being a bit more unpredictable; changing things, going in behind – going short, going wide.
“We did that in the first half although in second half Aberdeen got on top and made it difficult.
“We need to carry the first half performance on. I thought we were really good in the first half and it was probably the best we’ve played for a long time. We passed it well and competed well.
“We knew what we needed to do against Aberdeen, we knew we had to be up on things and play balls in behind them and pass it when we got the opportunity.
“We have to carry this into the league form, carry the energy and the goal scoring and try and get a result against Motherwell on Saturday.”
Neilson was particularly delighted with the contribution of Miguel Pallardo on Saturday after the midfielder made his seventh start of what has been a stop-start campaign for the Spaniard.
Neilson, whose side remain six points behind the second place Dons in the Premiership, added: “Miguel was outstanding. He’s found it difficult recently to get in the team and he’s had a couple of niggles here and there and his consistency hasn’t been there.
“But we know he’s a big game player, we know when we bring him into these games that he’ll perform.
“For him to be out for so long but to come in and give a performance like that for 90 minutes was a true reflection of the player he is.”
• Hearts have confirmed the departure of goalkeeper Scott Gallacher from Tynecastle by mutual consent.
The former Rangers shot-stopper made two starts and one substitute appearance for the Gorgie outfit after moving from Ibrox in summer 2014.
The 26-year-old, who made four outings for Forfar during a one-month loan spell during the first half of the campaign, was head coach Robbie Neilson’s third choice keeper behind Neil Alexander and Scotland Under-21 internationalist Jack Hamilton.
A Hearts statement read: “Scott Gallacher has left Heart of Midlothian by mutual consent.
“The club wishes Scott all the best in the future.”
Gallacher is the second player to have left Hearts this month after midfielder Kenny Anderson’s exited last week.