Hearts boss Paulo Sergio hits out at selection critics

Hearts manager Paulo Sergio has robustly defended his team selection following the League Cup defeat at Ayr.

And the Portuguese hit out at "stupid" criticism from fellow coaches.

He said: "I read in the newspapers and listened to people and find it funny that coaches are saying stupid things, criticising me for the team I picked.

"I just want to remind them these players did very well in London [against Spurs]. They deserved to play on Wednesday."

Hearts were dumped out of the League Cup on Wednesday after a penalty shoot-out against the side that are bottom of the First Division.

Sergio would not identify the target of his ire, but he was understood to be referring to comments made by Kilmarnock assistant manager Jimmy Nicholl, who had expressed surprise over Hearts' team selection at Somerset Park.

"Maybe the guys who are talking too much are profiting from their own publicity," said Sergio.

"Maybe they aren't used to winning too many times and making their own publicity maybe to get a better job.

"I know how to deal with it. I used to respect all the people. When I speak about coaches, it's to encourage them.

"When (Ally) McCoist and (Neil) Lennon lost in the Europa League, when Craig (Brown) at Aberdeen lost and people are talking about sacking him, when I talk about my colleagues it is to encourage them and say they are on my side.

"I read in the press, someone I don't know who was saying stupid things.

"It's awful, it's something I don't want to do in the future. I have a message for them - we'll meet each other in the future.

"At the end of the season, we are going to see who is more happy, scientists who know how to talk about others, maybe they don't know how to talk about themselves."