Hearts 1-0 Aberdeen: Neilson pleased with improving side

Robbie Neilson in the Tynecastle dugout
Robbie Neilson was delighted his Hearts side toppled Aberdeen

Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson believes his team are growing in dog and spirit after they knocked Aberdeen out of the Scottish Cup on Saturday.

An early Callum Paterson goal secured victory for the hosts in a fiery fourth round tie at Tynecastle.

"We've got a good group of players, guys from all over the world, and it takes time to develop, but I can see it coming," Neilson told BBC Scotland.

"I can see them trusting each other, and today is only going to help that."

Neilson insisted Hearts would not "get carried away" on the back of a solitary win, however.

"It's a great result, but Aberdeen are still the team we're trying to aim for," he said.

"You can see first half we had a good half, second half Aberdeen probably had the better of it, so we have to make sure we keep building.

"We want to try and catch them in the league, they're still a distance away. All in all, I always believe the league shows the true form of a team."

The head coach was pleased with his side's robust defence, but conceded Hearts should have made more of their first-half chances.

"It's been one of our problems recently, we've had a lot of possession, a lot of good football and not quite finished it off," said Neilson.

"I thought defensively, every player did their job today. Aberdeen had their goalkeeper up and their centre-half up at the end, they were bombarding us and we stood firm."

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes
Derek McInnes believes Aberdeen deserve criticism for being knocked out of the Scottish Cup

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes, meanwhile, felt too many of his game-breaking players were off their game.

"I think we lost too many of the individual battles in the first half," he said. "Normally the team who starts better, imposes themselves on the game, go on and win.

"We gave ourselves something to do, Hearts had something to hold on to and while the second half we started to get more of the ball and get into better areas, I don't think our players who can turn games, get past people and create things for us weren't quite on it.

"In big ties, it normally needs big players to perform and we didn't have enough of that.

"When you work for a big club, where there's big expectations, you have to bring big performances, and unfortunately we've not managed to do that. We're out the cup, and I do believe we deserve criticism for that."

McInnes revealed he had not decided whether to add to his squad during the January transfer window.

And he said Willo Flood, who sustained a hamstring injury in the Tynecast;e defeat, "looks as if he will be out for a while", with fellow central midfielder Ryan Jack also on the treatment table.