The Football League Paper - - ROBBIE NEILSON -

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.

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