Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson poked fun at the critics who claim Craig Levein is really pulling the strings at Tynecastle after watching his team pick up their first league win of the season in a 5-1 thrashing over sorry Inverness.
The build up to the game had been dominated by suggestions that Levein has a huge influence over the side after former Hearts midfielders Michael Stewart and Gary Mackay both questioned the director of football’s role.
Hearts produced an irrepressible five-star performance as the likes of captain Don Cowie, Tony Watt and Conor Sammon all shone yesterday.
Hearts, however, were denied a clean sheet after Callum Paterson got himself in a tangle and scored an own goal.
In reference to the comments made by Stewart and Mackay, Neilson said: “When the fax came in this morning, and the team came through, I was delighted when I saw it.
“I was pleased with the performance. I have said the last few weeks, the performances have been good.
“We have just not really been converting chances and making bad mistakes.
“It was the reverse on Saturday – we didn’t get punished for some of the mistakes we made and we managed to score some goals.
“The two goals that Don scored were really simple goals but they were executed with real quality.
“The first one, it is a great ball in from John Souttar, Don dummies it and the lay off is on a plate for him.
“The second one that Don scored was almost identical.”
Bjorn Johnsen climbed off the bench to finally make his debut following a contract dispute with former club CSKA Sofia and the American made an immediate impact when he set up Nicholson for the first of his two goals with a cheeky back heel.
Neilson added: “That is the reason we have been fighting hard to get him. He is a physical specimen but he is totally different from anything in Scotland.
“He is quick, he can link the play and has good vision and technique.
“The pass through for Sam’s goal, I think he was one of the only person in the stadium who saw it, and it was a great finish.”