As a Hearts supporter I was very sorry to read that Robbie Neilson left MK Dons on Saturday night. It is clear that the Dons made the right decision to sack ex Jambos boss Robbie. The old adage that football is a results business applies and Robbie did not get enough wins.
When he left Hearts on a Thursday in early Dec 2016, the previous evening Neilson's stylish Hearts had beaten Rangers 2-0 and if the score had been 5-0 nobody would have complained. Robbie Muirhead scored both goals and played like a God that night. Neilson left Hearts with the Jambos lying second in the Scottish Premier League. I was convinced that Neilson would be a great success at MK.
|Robbie Muirhead of MK Dons celebrates scoring for Hearts against Rangers|
One year later things looked very different. I saw the Dons match against AFC 10 days ago and the team lacked confidence and cohesion. Muirhead was awful. It is a real shame it hasn't worked out for RN and I am led to believe that his difficulties in dealing with senior players (well, one senior player I think) impacted negatively on performances. When he was Head Coach at Hearts Robbie worked with a wise old owl Craig Levein who was the 'Director of Football' at the time. I think Robbie was keen to take the MK job to be his own man but maybe this fine young coach was not quite ready to fly solo without a safety net.
Whatever the reasons are, the fact remains that Robbie Neilson is a good coach. Prior to 2014 when he became Head Coach at Tynecastle, in his first coaching job as Hearts Youth Team Manager he developed youngsters who are now starring for a resurgent Hearts. Hearts have deployed 7 teenagers in the first team this season - all graduates of the Robbie Neilson school of excellence.
Hopefully Robbie will be stronger for this chastening experience and will become a successful manager. I do feel that he has passed up a wonderful opportunity because the potential at MK Dons is immense and some time soon somebody will take this great young football club by the scruff of the neck and launch them into the Championship and possible beyond.
I will always be grateful to Robbie for providing the Foreword for my book The Road to Wembley from Scotland.
|Robbie Neilson is 'booked' by the Blogger|
I wish this polite, hard working and genuine football man every success in the future. Good luck also to the Dons - I will continue to follow their progress with great interest.