BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
HEARTS’ impressive triumph over Rangers is likely to be Robbie Neilson’s final match in charge of the Jambos – and the outgoing head coach reckons it was among his best.
The 36-year-old was reluctant to confirm that he would be joining MK Dons this week, with the finer points of a compensation package for him and assistant Stevie Crawford still to be ironed out between the clubs.
However, it is understood he has agreed terms with the League One strugglers and will be announced as Karl Robinson’s successor in the next 48 hours.
And Neilson’s players gave him the perfect send-off last night, with a double from Robbie Muirhead securing a 2-0 win over the Gers, who saw a Joe Dodoo goal disallowed in the second half.
The win means Neilson – who took charge of the club in the Championship – leaves them in second spot in the Premiership, having won the second tier title and secured European qualification last term.
He may not have been willing to put on record that he was heading for the exit door, however he did reflect on the journey he has been on since taking charge in the summer of 2014.
Neilson lauded: “I thought it was one of the best performances I have seen in my time here.
“Tonight should be about the players, not me. I’ll be back in work tomorrow and whatever will be, will be. It’s still not done just yet, there will be discussions. To be at this club has been an honour and a privilege – but I’m still here at the moment!
“This club has been on a long journey from the Championship to second in the league. It is phenomenal. This should not be about my situation, it should be about a great night for Hearts.
“When you look at the situation this club was in two-and-a-half years ago, to beat Rangers 2-0 to go second in the Premiership is magnificent.
“Ann [Budge] and the Foundation of Hearts have brought finances and stability to this club. That is the key. The players, the fans and the owners drive this club. Myself and Stevie [Crawford] just have a small part to play in it.
“The fans were happy, the place was rocking. That’s what matters. We’ve had troubles in the past – now we’re back.”
Neilson is adamant the Jambos will go from strength to strength regardless of who is in the dugout, thanks to the support of fans’ group Foundation of Hearts and with a new Main Stand on the horizon.
He continued: “The fans here are magnificent, there is no other club in the world that backs their team like the fans here do.
“They put their hand in their pockets every month to drive the place forward, to build a new stand, to help us to get from relegation to the Championship back to where we are now.
“It will only get better from here. The finances will improve, the playing budget will increase and things will kick on again.
“This is a fabulous establishment and it is has been great on be on the journey, but people will always come and go.”