Hearts manager Robbie Neilson willing take on any opponent in Betfred Cup last 16
Hearts manager Robbie Neilson is prepared to play any opponent after seeing his team reach the Betfred Cup last 16.
The Edinburgh club’s 3-2 win at East Fife extended their 100 per cent record in all competitions to eight matches as they topped Group A with four wins from four.
It will also earn them a seeding berth for Sunday’s knockout phase draw if they finish as one of the four group winners with the best record.
"We've done as much as we can winning four out of four and you'd think that'd be enough to get seeded. If we're not then we'll play whosoever, we aren't bothered,” said Neilson.
Olly Lee’s double and Andy Irving’s stunning 30-yard strike helped Hearts overcome a determined East Fife side.
They twice fought back with goals from Jack Hamilton and Ryan Wallace and had a much-changed Hearts team looking somewhat ragged in the final stages.
East Fife substitute Liam Watt should have tied the game at 3-3 in the dying seconds but wasted a glorious chance.
"The game had everything apart from a bit of quality in the second half,” said Neilson. “We started the game really well and got two goals before they were even in our half.
"Then it just descended into them going direct. We had a couple of young boys [Scott McGill and Andy Irving] in centre midfield and it was a learning curve for them.
"You have to make sure you do the dog work in there and be aggressive. At times they did but East Fife got a bit of control.
"It wasn't the most pleasing on the eye but it's three points, 12 out of 12 and eight wins out of eight and sets us up for a massive game a week on Friday [against Dunfermline in the league].”
East Fife manager Darren Young said: “If you take that first minute and a half out of the game, for 89 minutes we were absolutely outstanding.
“Our workrate and desire was sensational. We created some good chances and we felt we could have had two penalties – one in the first half and one in the second.
“Then we had a great chance with Liam Watt in the last minute. In the end, we’re disappointed not to take it to penalties.”