Hearts boss Robbie Neilson wary of Hibernian ahead of cup semi-final

Neilson says Hibs showed their goal threat in last week's Edinburgh derby.

Hearts boss Robbie Neilson wary of Hibernian ahead of cup semi-final SNS Group

Hearts manager Robbie Neilson believes his side have to be wary of their rivals when the teams meet in Saturday’s Scottish Cup semi-final.

The clash at Hampden comes just a week after the teams met at Tynecastle on Premiership duty, with Hearts running out 3-1 winners after going a goal behind.

That result consigned Hibs to the bottom six after the league split, and with Hearts already having secured third place in the table, they are being tipped to come out on top in the cup tie.

Neilson insisted there would be no complacency in his team’s approach, pointing out that even in defeat, Hibs had shown they were capable of inflicting damage.

“I don’t think we were comfortable, to be honest with you,” said the Hearts manager. “Hibs were the better team for the first 20-30 minutes.

“They got their goal and if (Elias) Melkersen scores his opportunity, it’s 2-0. If we don’t get our goal when we did just before half-time, it’s a different story going in at half-time.

“We know there are areas we need to improve massively in. Yes, there were areas I was pleased with, the final outcome obviously, but there’s still a lot to be wary of.”

The winner will progress to face Celtic or Rangers in the Scottish Cup final, as well as securing bragging rights over rivals but for Hearts there’s another incentive to triumph. Though a European place is already in the bag through the league campaign, victory on Saturday would guarantee group stage football in the Europa Conference League at worst next season.

Neilson says the stakes are much higher than in last week’s derby.

“The league game, we were in a pretty comfortable position in the league,” he said. “Obviously it was a derby so we wanted to win but the real big one for us is the cup game.

“It was about putting that one to bed, making sure we got the three points and now it’s about making sure we get through in the cup.”

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