Hearts boss Robbie Neilson was critical of Queen of the South’s plastic pitch after the Tynecastle club were held to a 1-1 draw at Palmerston on Friday night.

The result could have been worse for the Championship leaders, who needed a last-minute Liam Boyce penalty to earn a point.

However, Hearts failed to play much free-flowing football in the game, something that Neilson puts down to the playing surface his team had to cope with.

“Very difficult”

“I thought we had control of the game, but it was very difficult to get any quality. It becomes a game of kick and rush at times, holding the ball, and it’s spinning away from you” he said (Daily Record).

Dundee v Heart of Midlothian - Scottish Championship

Hearts manager Robbie Neilson wasn’t happy with the Palmerston plastic pitch (Photo by Mark Scates/SNS Group via Getty Images)

“We controlled a lot of the game but our quality in the final third wasn’t there. To be honest, I put it down to this surface. It’s very difficult” Neilson went on.

Couldn’t play one-touch game

The Hearts boss reckons that the pitch forced his players to take extra touches of the ball, rather than the one-touch football they wanted to play.

Heart of Midlothian v Hibernian - Scottish Cup: First Semi-Final

Liam Boyce’s late penalty earned Hearts a point against Queen of the South (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

“I think on a grass pitch we play a lot more one-touch football whereas here, you have to take the touch to control it and play the pass, so it slows the game right down.”

The good news for Hearts is that they don’t have to play on Palmerston’s plastic pitch again this season. The point gained also improved their lead at the top of the Championship to 13 points. That will make good viewing for Neilson as Hearts close in on a return to the Premiership.

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