Hearts boss delighted he can now give his undivided attention to Celtic

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Robbie Neilson insists he can now give his undivided attention to Celtic after admitting that that he and his Hearts backroom staff even struggled to stay focussed on the Championship.

The Gorgie outfit go into Sunday’s Scottish Cup final on a high after beating Queen of the South 6-1 at the weekend.

The players made sure they blanked out the Hampden showdown to go four points clear at the second tier summit, but Neilson concedes he feared he was thinking too much about the final ahead of the Doonhamers clash.

Hearts manager Robbie Neilson | Hearts news
Hearts beat QoS 6-1 at the weekend

Manager Neilson said: “The players came on Sunday for a recovery session and now we’re gearing up for the game and it’s one we’re really looking forward to.

“As staff we’ve been talking about it and thinking about it and trying to keep it away from the players.

“But even as staff ourselves we were talking about making sure we concentrated on the game on Saturday.

“It’s quite easy to talk during the week about what we’re going to do and how we’re going to play (against Celtic) and you start veering away from getting the three points on the Saturday, which is the most important thing for us. 

“The most important thing in the build up to the Queens game was that the players were solely focussed on it because it’s very easy to start thinking about a massive game eight days down the line. 

“Credit to the players because they did that, they trained really well and won the game convincingly. 

“Now we can focus on the Celtic game. It’s pleasing we got that result and now it’s on to the big one.”

Neilson is also thrilled that Hearts will remain top of the Championship next weekend, regardless of second place Dunfermline’s result at Dundee.

He added: “It was a good day on Saturday. Dunfermline getting beat (by Morton) allowed us to open up that four point cushion.

“That means when they play next week in the league and we play in the cup, even if they get a win we’ll still top of the league.”

Neilson, meanwhile, admits he is delighted with Jamie Walker’s run of form after the attacking midfielder notched his third goal from two games on Saturday.

Neilson added: “Jamie is one of those boys who needs games to get himself up and running. 

“He’s not a guy who can just train and all of a sudden come in. 

“I think he needs three, four, five games to get going. He had that at the start of the season, with the pre-season games and the Betfred Cup and was flying. 

“He had a wee niggle and had to come out and then it’s just building him back in again.

“He’s a very, very good player, a top player – probably one of the best players this academy has produced technically and goalscoring wise.”