Robbie Neilson believes Hearts have been given a ‘wake-up call’ after his side missed the opportunity to go second in the Ladbrokes Premiership following a 2-0 defeat to Kilmarnock at Rugby Park.
A goal in each half from Souleymane Coulibaly and Steven Smith earned Kilmarnock their first home victory since May.
Coulibaly was a constant thorn in the Hearts defence, while Neilson’s men lacked incision in the final third.
Neilson, whose side had been unbeaten in their three previous matches, said: “We started the game really well and had an unbelievable opportunity to score in the first 10 minutes. If you don’t take those chances then you don’t win games.
“Credit to Kilmarnock. Their game plan was to press the life out of us and we never really had any penetration.
“We had the two best chances of the game tonight and we didn’t take them.
“I think tonight was a wake-up call for us. We can play some fantastic football at times, but we also need to do the other side of the game where we’re horrible to play against at times.
“The whole build up to the game was about the opportunity to go second. But, it’s done, and the focus is now on Saturday against Inverness.”
Meanwhile Lee Clark, whose team have now taken seven points from their last nine, felt it was Kilmarnock’s best performance under his tenure.
Clark said: “I think we thoroughly deserved the victory. It wasn’t a fluke, we weren’t hanging on at the end. We’ve been superb.”
“It gets that monkey off our back as well in terms of the home win.
“We scored two unbelievable goals tonight. Coulibaly is going to have his own goal of the season DVD out soon. He’s a showman and the fans are enjoying seeing some of the goals he scores.
Asked whether the players have been affected by events off the park, Clark said: “I’m very experienced at knowing how to take it away from the players. Ultimately we cannot do anything about it. We’ve got to try and lift the fans with our performances and our results.”