Hearts 1-2 Birkirkara: We must learn from mistakes - Robbie Neilson

Arnaud Djoum
Arnaud Djoum is consoled after Hearts lost 2-1 to Birkirkara

Hearts manager Robbie Neilson said his players must learn from the mistakes that led to the club's 2-1 Europa League defeat to Birkirkara of Malta.

The final whistle was greeted by a chorus of booing at Tynecastle, with the home side having fallen to a team that contained some part-timers.

Neilson said everybody at the club was "devastated" by the result, but also that his players must develop the know-how to deal with European football.

"It's a huge learning curve," he said.

"It was a year's worth of work that got us here and we let it slip.

"We can't give away goals like that. Free-kick into the box, switch off, goal. After that we're chasing ourselves.

"We've got another year now to try to get back [into Europe]. We've got to work hard and learn from tonight."

Conor Sammon scores
Conor Sammon scored his first goal for Hearts but it was not enough

With the first-leg having finished 0-0, Hearts were confident ahead of the tie at Tynecastle and ought to have taken the lead when Sam Nicholson won a first-half penalty. Prince Buaben's weak effort was saved, though, by Miroslav Kopric.

Jamie Walker and Nicholson both hit the bar with efforts, but Hearts fell behind to second-half goals by Christian Bubalovic and Edward Herrera.

Conor Sammon pulled one back with his first goal for the club, but Hearts were unable to turn the scoreline around.

"We passed the ball well, we got into good opportunities, we hit the bar twice, and we got done," Neilson said. "That's European football. They had two shots at goal and they scored two.

"We're on a journey at the moment. We have to keep continuing to learn. You have to finish teams off, and we paid the ultimate penalty.

"This is a whole new environment for the players, it's European football, and it's about learning and developing. We're disappointed to go out, but we start building right now for next year."

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