10 February 2023

Hearts boss Robbie Neilson hails Stephen Humphrys’ goal threat after cup victory

10 February 2023

Hearts manager Robbie Neilson hailed the goal threat of Stephen Humphrys after the striker netted again in a 2-0 Scottish Cup fifth-round win over Hamilton.

The on-loan Wigan striker bagged his fifth goal of the season when he fired home from a tight angle in the 29th minute.

Fresh from scoring from his own half against Dundee United last weekend, Humphrys had several other efforts at goal in a one-sided first half.

Neilson said: “He’s a finisher – he gets into the box and he can shift it left and right-foot and score. There’s a lot of stuff to polish up on but he’s a threat.”

Accies came into the game in the second half but Zander Clark made a couple of saves and Hearts regained control just before Cammy Devlin forced home the clincher in the 79th minute.

Neilson said: “We started really well, controlled the first half and got the goal. But not getting the second goal always puts you under a wee bit of pressure and I thought second half we were a wee bit slack and there was a period where we started overplaying.

“To Hamilton’s credit they put us under pressure. They never created massive amounts but the changes coming on gave us that lift.”

After beating Queen of the South in the SPFL Trust Trophy semi-finals after extra-time on Tuesday, Accies manager John Rankin was wary of doing too much, too soon in an attacking sense.

After putting Hearts under pressure in the second half, he said: “If we had started the game like that we’d have got picked off especially after playing 120 minutes on Tuesday.

“So I felt we had to be organised, compact and hard to beat in the first half.

“I thought we did that, Hearts had large spells of the game but I felt we were passive at times, didn’t lay a glove, which disappointed me.

“We said at half-time, ‘stay in the game for 10 minutes and we’ll have a right go’. And we did and I can’t ask any more from my players.

“I learned that we need more in the final third and we procrastinated over the final touch, the final pass, the final cross.

“Just put the ball in the box, you’re playing against good players and if you think about it too much, you are going to lose the opportunity.

“The players learned that but overall I’m really proud of them. It’s been a tough week. It was a free hit to play Hearts and for 25 minutes we put them under pressure.”

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