“We’ll put our strongest team out” – Robbie Neilson ahead of Tannadice trip

Robbie Neilson is eager to ensure a strong finish to the league season and keep up his side’s momentum before the Scottish Cup Final next month. Aaron Fraser reports.

Neilson prepares his Scottish Cup finalists for another Dundee day out. (Photo Credit – SNS)

The Hearts boss knows all too well what can happen if a side is allowed to rest on their laurels after achieving one of their main goals. The last time Hearts qualified for Europe in 2015/16, Robbie Neilson was in his first spell as manager and watched his side’s form dramatically tail off in the post-split fixtures.

Complacency is something he will not stand for this time around, especially with silverware on the line in May.

“We have to continue winning football matches,” says Neilson, eager to underline the importance of the split fixtures despite the club’s position in third being secured.

“We have had a meeting with the players and in the last five games we are playing against two teams who are challenging for the title, and three teams that are trying to get the European spot behind us.

“They are all going to be at it and we will need to make sure we are ready. We want to continue our form going into the Scottish Cup Final and we need to make sure we don’t start looking at that game and stay focused.”

With third place guaranteed, some would perhaps make wholesale changes to the starting eleven and field a weakened team for the upcoming games.

Neilson doesn’t agree with doing this, saying that he wants to play his strongest team every week: “When you are at Hearts you need to win every game.

“We will go into the game at Dundee United and put our strongest team out so we can try to win it and then we will do the same whether it’s Ross County or Celtic. Then we will be ready for the final.”

Neilson will be making another return to his old stomping ground this Sunday and is looking forward to another game in the City of Discovery.

With a win already at the home of the Terrors this season, it’s little wonder that he’s relishing the opportunity of another victory at Tannadice: “It’ll be a tough game, but I managed up there, I enjoy it and it’s a great place to play. We’ll take a great support, maybe two or three or four thousand up there, and try to win.

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