ROBBIE NEILSON FACTFILE
Born: Paisley, 1980 (Age 36) Career: A right-back, Neilson came through the youth system at Rangers but left in 1996 to join Hearts, making his pro debut on loan at Cowdenbeath in 1999. After his first SPL start for the Jambos in September 2000, Neilson had a loan spells at Queen of the South (where he won the Scottish Challenge Cup) before returning to cement a regular berth at Tynecastle. In total, he made 249 appearances for Hearts, winning the SFA Cup in 2006 and one cap for Scotland before leaving to join Leicester in 2009. Neilson struggled to nail down a place at the Walkers, playing just 26 games in two seasons before a loan spell at Brentford. He finished his career back in
Scotland with Dundee United, Falkirk and East Fife before retiring, aged 33, in 2013. After coaching at Falkirk and then working as a player-coach at East Fife, Neilson returned to Hearts as Under-20s manager before being asked to take charge of the first team in May 2014. At the time, Hearts had just suffered relegation to the Championship but Neilson’s rebuilt side saw off the challenge of both Hibs and Rangers to secure the title by a 21-point margin. The Jambos then finished the 2015-16 season third in the Premier League to qualify for the Europa League and lay second in the top flight when Neilson left to join MK Dons in December 2016.