Robbie Neilson's immature December remark should have Celtic fired up for Tynecastle
Everything about Hearts vs Celtic on Wednesday night screams “season-defining match”.
A defeat at Tynecastle and it’ll be a colossal blow to our title aspirations. A victory, meanwhile, would mean that confidence amongst the Celtic players and support will skyrocket further ahead of the Dundee United and Rangers matches.
There are so many reasons this game is huge of course. It’s also a chance for us to avenge the opening-day defeat to the Gorgie side back in August. However, it’s also huge for us to ram Hearts boss Robbie Neilson’s comments from December back down his throats.
Celtic bossed Hearts at Parkhead in a crucial 1-0 success last month. There was debate about Kyogo’s winner and whether it was offside. The truth is there was barely anything in it. But of course, that didn’t stop Neilson from moaning post-match as he demeaned the performance of the Celtic players with an extremely immature remark.
As quoted by the Scottish Sun last month, Neilson said: “I felt we didn’t get beaten by Celtic, we got beaten by poor decisions by the referee and linesman. We can all laugh and joke about these things. I made a comment after our game at Ibrox and got the book thrown at me, so I can’t say too much about this one.
“I’m sure the linesman and referee will have a look at it, they’ll WhatsApp each other and they’ll move on to the next game.
“I’d end up going to jail if I said what I really think about it. But that’s Scottish football, you’re in Glasgow.”
Robbie Neilson after losing to Celtic = serial moaner
Of course, perhaps these comments won’t surprise Celtic supporters who remember Neilson’s previous complaints after losing games to the Hoops. During his first spell as Hearts boss between 2014 and 2016, he incredibly tried to point the finger at officials after hammerings at the hands of Ronny Deila’s Celtic [Daily Mail].
This is a manager who consistently struggles to just admit his side have been beaten by the better side. When he comes up against Celtic, he seems determined to have the referee blamed before a ball is even kicked.
The last time Hearts visited Celtic Park, we had 25 shots to their 9. 69% possession to their 31%. They managed 2 shots on target all night [BBC]. They deserved absolutely nothing and they got absolutely nothing.
His comments in December were immature and whiffed of a manager raging his team had been beaten by Celtic. And make no mistake, the Jambos are trying to pile the pressure on us by limiting the number of Hoops supporters inside the stadium on Wednesday night.
Celtic will only have 1,300 supporters in attendance come kickoff in Gorgie. The atmosphere will be hostile, intimidating, and all set up to throw Celtic off track.
But after Neilson’s immature comments last month, there should be a determination from the Celtic players to silence him once and for all. Giving them a going-over on their own turf in front of their own fans? That would do exactly that.