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Robbie Neilson expects playing Livingston to be more difficult than Celtic

Celtic v Heart of Midlothian – cinch Premiership – Celtic Park
(Image credit: Jane Barlow)

Hearts boss Robbie Neilson claims playing in Livingston will be harder than facing Celtic in Glasgow.

Neilson admits it will be a huge challenge getting his team to hit the same levels they managed at Celtic Park on Thursday, when they pressed hard for an equaliser in a 1-0 defeat.

The Hearts manager was frustrated that Kyogo Furuhashi’s goal was not flagged offside and that his team did not make their chances count.

And he knows they have to get the defeat out of their system and prepare for an entirely different test on a ground where Hearts have difficult recent memories.

The Jambos were held to a goalless draw on their most recent visit but were thrashed 5-0 on their previous trip, three years ago.

“The game against Livingston is going to be harder than going to Celtic Park,” Neilson said.

“That’s going to be the biggest challenge for us (getting the same performance level) because we’ve gone from 60,000 people, playing really well, the adrenaline going, not getting what we wanted and the frustration – to Sunday at Livingston, smaller crowd, Astro pitch, away from home.

“We need to make sure we’re ready for that. We’ll speak to the players and they need to focus on the game. It’s all about Livingston.

“It’s about recovering. That was a tough 95-96 minutes. We will make a couple of changes to freshen it up but we don’t have a huge squad so probably seven or eight are going to have to go again.

“They have to understand it’s going to be a different game. I was down there for the Rangers game last weekend and you need to play a different type of football, and you need to be ready for them.

“They are well organised. They have a striker who will run in behind. They are direct, they will get second balls and set-plays.

“They are probably a bit different from last season, they have changed their style a bit, gone more direct, but they are still a good team. Rangers were cruising at 2-0 but at 2-1 it was a different game.”

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