Hearts manager Robbie Neilson was delighted to pick up a valuable three points against Motherwell to extend the gap between third and fourth in the league – but confessed he was left disappointed with his side’s performance.

Andy Halliday and Everton loanee Ellis Simms scored in a 2-0 win for the Jambos that sees them open up a ten-point cushion on the Steelmen but Neilson thinks Hearts could have played far better.

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The Tynecastle boss was full of praise for Motherwell after they made things hard for his side as Neilson now turns his attention to Tuesday’s Edinburgh derby.

“I’m delighted with the points but disappointed with the performance,” the Hearts boss said.

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“We’ve played a lot better this season. Especially at home, we should be performing better.

“We didn’t control the game that well. Credit to Motherwell, they make it like that.

“They get bodies around the ball, play direct knock-downs. But we need  more composure.

“It puts us in a good position, but it doesn’t  matter if we’re ten ahead or ten behind — we’re going to Easter Road so we have to win. All our focus is going there for three points.”

The Jambos boss confirmed he is likely to be without stopper Craig Halkett for up to six weeks and feared the worst when John Souttar took a knock, replacing the Scotland defender with Toby Sibbick.

While Neilson confirmed Souttar was ok, he suggested there may be a phone call coming his way imminently after Rangers shipped three goals against Ross County in Dingwall, adding: “Craig will probably four to six weeks. John took a knock but he’s fine.

“He’s left here OK and he’ll be back in tomorrow. And I expect he’ll be available for Tuesday if he’s still here.

“There’s been nothing new with him — although I saw they lost three goals today so I might get a phone call!

“But at this moment in time there’s been nothing.”

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