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Robbie Neilson has spoken about Hearts’ double motivation against Inverness Caley Thistle and the importance to win on what was a “poignant” day for the club.
The Tynecastle boss pointed to the affiliation with McCrae’s Battalion ahead of Remembrance Sunday. Hearts’ team of 1914 were the first volunteers to sign-up for the sporting battalion and, along with hundreds of season ticket holders who also joined, fought for their country at the Somme. Neilson said the Remembrance period is always a significant time for the club, and pointed to the importance of getting a result to mark the occasion.
The Hearts boss also reflected on a “hurting” week for the club after the death of former captain Marius Zaliukas. A number of players past and present attended a memorial service to mourn his passing last week.
Hearts won the match thanks to goals from Steven Naismith and Liam Boyce and Neilson said: “Hearts’ affiliation with McCrae’s Battalion always makes this a very poignant day.
“I’ve been here as a player as 13/14 years and a manager for four or five and I always think it’s important we get a result on a day like this.
“It’s important because of McCrae’s Battalion but doubly so because of Marius Zaliukas.
“We had the service on Thursday for him and everybody at the club was hurting this week after the semi-final.”
Inverness boss John Robertson knew Zaliukas well having been part of the coaching staff during the Lithuanian’s spell at the club.
Neilson added: “Robbo knows him very well after being back here as part of the staff. It’s been quite a tough week for everyone I think, especially the guys that knew him, as I did very well.
“So it was a good day to get three points.”
The Tynecastle club return to action away to East Fife in the Betfred Cup on Tuesday.