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Dundee draw not down to pressure of going top, says Hearts boss Robbie Neilson

Robbie Neilson File Photo
(Image credit: Jane Barlow)

Hearts manager Robbie Neilson dismissed suggestions the pressure of going top of the cinch Premiership had affected his players during the 1-1 draw with Dundee.

John Souttar’s 20-yard curler was enough to send Hearts top on Saturday night, but a late header from Jason Cummings ensured it was two points dropped for the hosts, with the visiting fans the ones celebrating at the end.

Liam Boyce and Gary Mackay-Steven hit the woodwork either side of Souttar’s 37th-minute opener, but Hearts never really built on their lead.

“No matter who we play here, we are expected to win,” said Neilson, who hopes Boyce will shake off a tight calf ahead of Wednesday’s clash with St Johnstone.

“When we don’t win, there is a disappointment from the dressing room whether it is Rangers, Celtic, Dundee or Ross County.

“We expect to go and win the game. We didn’t win it, but we had the chances to win it and the performance to merit it, but we have to accept the point and move on.

“We are undefeated after 10 games on our return to the top flight and the mood in the camp is very good.

“You are always going to have games where you don’t have that final moment, but the key phrase is that we are getting the moments. We are getting into really good areas, having shots. Some days, it just doesn’t go in.”

While Cummings seized his chance to silence the home fans, James McPake had praise for another former Hibernian striker after Leigh Griffiths held the ball up well at times without really threatening. Although his volley shaved the top of the bar, the offside flag was raised.

“I think Leigh deserves a bit of credit,” McPake said. “He took the ball in for us and when we were getting up the pitch he was a key figure in that and it was another 65 minutes for him after being out for so long, coming to an atmosphere a lot of people wouldn’t want to come to, but it didn’t affect him.

“He is getting better and better every day with the training and games.”

Griffiths also produced a goal-line clearance for the second week running.

“He is switched on,” McPake said. “You don’t play at the level he has played at and have the career he has had, to date, which isn’t finished by a long shot…

“I work with him every day and I can see he is better than I ever saw with Hibs and Livingston. He has worked with some top managers, so you would expect that. He has really bought into what we are trying to do.”

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