Robbie Neilson

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Robbie Neilson
Robbie Neilson.jpg
Neilson in 2006
Personal information
Full name Robert Neilson[1]
Date of birth (1980-06-19) 19 June 1980 (age 38)[1]
Place of birth Paisley, Scotland
Height 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)
Playing position Defender
Club information
Current team
Dundee United (head coach)
Youth career
1994–1996 Rangers
1996–1999 Heart of Midlothian
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1999–2009 Heart of Midlothian 200 (1)
1999–2000Cowdenbeath (loan) 8 (0)
2002–2003Queen of the South (loan) 13 (0)
2009–2011 Leicester City 26 (0)
2011Brentford (loan) 15 (0)
2011–2012 Dundee United 21 (0)
2012–2013 Falkirk 3 (0)
2013 East Fife 5 (0)
Total 291 (1)
National team
2000 Scotland U21[2] 2 (0)
2005 Scotland B[3] 1 (0)
2006 Scotland 1 (0)
Teams managed
2014–2016 Heart of Midlothian
2016–2018 Milton Keynes Dons
2018– Dundee United
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Robert Neilson (born 19 June 1980) is a Scottish professional football coach and former player, who is the head coach of Scottish Championship club Dundee United.

Neilson, who played as a defender, started his senior career with Hearts, making 200 Scottish Premier League (SPL) appearances and winning the Scottish Cup in 2006 with the club. Earlier on in his career, Neilson was loaned to Scottish Football League (SFL) clubs Cowdenbeath and Queen of the South. After failing to agree a new contract with Hearts, Neilson left and signed for English Championship club Leicester City in 2009. After about a year he was dropped from the Leicester first team, and was loaned to Brentford, and was then given a free transfer in the summer of 2011. Neilson played for Dundee United during the 2011–12 season, and later played for Falkirk and East Fife.

He became Hearts' head coach in 2014, winning the Scottish Championship title in his first season. Neilson moved to Milton Keynes Dons during the 2016–17 season. He left Milton Keynes by mutual consent in January 2018, and was appointed Dundee United head coach in October 2018.

Playing career[edit]

Hearts[edit]

Neilson holding the Scottish Cup in 2006

Born in Paisley, Renfrewshire,[1] Neilson was originally attached to Rangers, the team he supported, through their Boys Club system. He joined Heart of Midlothian's Youth Academy aged 16.

He had time on loan at Cowdenbeath in 1999. In August 2002 Neilson joined Dumfries club Queen of the South on loan. Neilson helped the club consolidate their Scottish First Division status and win the 2002 Scottish Challenge Cup Final, beating Brechin City 2–0.[4][5] Neilson made 17 appearances for Queens including a man of the match performance at Clyde. He returned to Tynecastle in January 2003.

A high point in his career came in 2004 with his match-winning goal in Hearts' 2–1 away win over FC Basel in the 2004–05 UEFA Cup, his first in any competition for the club.[6] He scored his first league goal for Hearts in a 3–1 win over Livingston later that season.[7] He played all 120 minutes of the 2006 Scottish Cup Final, which Hearts won on penalties against Gretna.[8]

Neilson was awarded a testimonial match by Hearts in 2008.[9]

On 4 February 2009 he was given the role of Hearts' captain after the departure of Christophe Berra. Manager Csaba László did not start contract talks with Neilson until the season drew to a close. As a result of the new wage structure at Hearts, Neilson and the club could not reach an agreement for a new contract.[10]

Leicester City[edit]

In search of a new challenge,[11] Neilson agreed terms with English Championship club Leicester City on 21 May 2009.[12] The next day the club confirmed that he had signed a pre-contractual agreement and would join them in July.[13] Signing a three-year contract,[13] Neilson set his sights on helping the club win promotion to the Premier League.[11] He made his debut in a 0–0 draw against Ipswich Town at Portman Road on 15 August, becoming the 1000th player to debut for the club in a competitive match.[14] Neilson finished the season with 19 league games for Leicester. He scored his first goal for the club in a 4–3 League Cup win over Macclesfield Town on 10 August 2010.[15]

Brentford (loan)[edit]

On 17 February 2011, Neilson joined Brentford on loan for a month,[16] which was extended until the end of the season on 23 March 2011.[17] On 3 April 2011 Neilson started in the 2011 Football League Trophy Final playing the full 90 minutes. Carlisle United won the match 1–0[18] On 27 May 2011, manager Sven-Göran Eriksson allowed Neilson along with Michael Lamey to speak to other clubs in search of more regular first team opportunities.[19]

Dundee United[edit]

After training briefly with Falkirk[20] and Burton Albion, Neilson agreed to sign a contract with Dundee United on 15 November 2011 until the end of the 2011–12 season.[21][22] His debut for the Tannadice Park club was against his former club Hearts on 19 November 2011. Neilson soon became a regular in the first team and manager Peter Houston said he was keen to keep Neilson at the club.[23] At the end of the season, Neilson was offered a new contract[citation needed] but he turned the offer down[24] and was released by the club[citation needed].

Falkirk[edit]

After his release, Neilson was linked with Scottish First Division side Falkirk.[25] Neilson played as a trialist for Falkirk in a league match against Dunfermline Athletic on 6 October 2012 that ended in a 2–2 draw. Neilson unfortunately suffered a cheekbone injury during the match.[26] Neilson recovered from this injury to sign for the club and play in a further two league matches. These were both 2–1 defeats, at Raith Rovers on 10 November 2012 and at Livingston on 17 November 2012. After recovering from a knee operation, and having done some coaching work, he signed a short-term deal with Falkirk until the Summer of 2013.[citation needed]

East Fife[edit]

In September 2013, Neilson joined East Fife as player/coach.[27] He made his debut playing as a trialist on 31 August 2013, against Rangers in a 5–0 defeat.[28]

International play[edit]

Neilson was capped 10 times by the Scotland under-21 team. He won his first and only full Scotland cap in a 2–0 Euro 2008 qualifying defeat to Ukraine in Kiev on 11 October 2006.[29][30]

Coaching career[edit]

Hearts[edit]

On 31 August 2013, Neilson returned to Hearts as their development team (under-20s) manager.[31]

New club owner Ann Budge promoted Neilson to the head coach position, working for director of football Craig Levein, in May 2014.[32] Neilson's first official match in charge was a 3–1 home defeat of Annan Athletic in the Scottish Challenge Cup on 26 July.[33] Hearts began the 2014–15 Scottish Championship with five straight wins, including victories against Rangers and Hibernian.[34][35] His team remained undefeated for their first 20 leagues matches until a 3–2 home defeat to Falkirk ended their run on 24 January 2015.[36]

Neilson won Championship manager of the month awards for August,[37] October,[38] November[39] and March.[40] Hearts clinched the league championship and promotion to the Scottish Premiership, at the first attempt, on 22 March.[41] They finished the season 21 points ahead of nearest challengers, city-rivals Hibernian, and 24 points ahead of third-placed Rangers. Neilson was shortlisted for PFA Scotland Manager of the Year,[42] but lost out to John Hughes of Inverness CT.[43]

Hearts finished third in the 2015–16 Scottish Premiership, qualifying for the 2016–17 UEFA Europa League.[citation needed] In November 2016, it was reported that Neilson had agreed to move to English League One club Milton Keynes Dons, subject to a compensation agreement between the clubs.[44]

Milton Keynes Dons[edit]

On 2 December 2016, Milton Keynes Dons confirmed that Neilson had been appointed as manager, as well as his assistant-manager at Hearts, Stevie Crawford. The club confirmed Neilson would take charge following the club's FA Cup game against Charlton.[45] In his first league game in charge of Milton Keynes Dons he recorded a 1-0 home win against rivals AFC Wimbledon.[46]

After a run of one win in 11 league games, Neilson left Milton Keynes Dons by mutual consent on 20 January 2018.[47] The team had fallen into 21st place, inside the relegation zone.[47]

Dundee United[edit]

Neilson was appointed head coach of Scottish Championship club Dundee United in October 2018 with a contract running until then end of season 2019-20.[48][49] Neilson expressed confidence that he could repeat his achievement at Hearts and lead Dundee United to promotion to the Scottish Premiership.[49] Dundee United's chairman Mike Martin stated that Neilson was the "outstanding candidate" to emerge from "a long list of impressive applications" for the post and expressed delight at his accepting the offer to take up the post.[49] Neilson's first match in charge saw United defeat Partick Thistle 2-1 at Firhill.[50]

Managerial statistics[edit]

As of match played 19 January 2019
Managerial record by team and tenure
Team From To Record Ref
P W D L Win %
Heart of Midlothian 12 May 2014 3 December 2016 106 62 22 22 058.5 [45][51]
Milton Keynes Dons 3 December 2016 20 January 2018 66 25 17 24 037.9 [45][52]
Dundee United 8 October 2018 Present 14 8 4 2 057.1
Total 186 95 43 48 051.1

Honours[edit]

Player[edit]

Queen of the South

Heart of Midlothian

Manager[edit]

Heart of Midlothian

Individual

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Robbie Neilson". Barry Hugman's Footballers. Retrieved 3 April 2017.
  2. ^ "Neilson, Robbie (B)". fitbastats.com. Retrieved 14 May 2014.
  3. ^ "Neilson, Robbie (B)". fitbastats.com. Retrieved 31 October 2012.
  4. ^ "Queen of the South lift Bells Cup". BBC Sport. 20 October 2002. Retrieved 22 May 2010.
  5. ^ "Connolly hails cup triumph". BBC Sport. 20 October 2002.
  6. ^ "Basel 1-2 Hearts". BBC Sport. 25 November 2004. Retrieved 25 November 2009.
  7. ^ "Hearts 3-1 Livingston". BBC Sport. 19 March 2005. Retrieved 25 November 2009.
  8. ^ a b "Hearts 1-1 Gretna (4-2 on pens)". BBC Sport. 13 May 2006. Retrieved 17 December 2017.
  9. ^ Johnstone, Darren (10 August 2014). "Testimonials like mine are history – Neilson". The Scotsman. Retrieved 19 July 2018.
  10. ^ "Neilson plans Hearts talks". Sky Sports. BSkyB. 6 May 2009. Retrieved 21 October 2009.
  11. ^ a b "Neilson targets Premier push". Sky Sports. 8 July 2009. Retrieved 21 October 2009.
  12. ^ "Hearts' Neilson to join Leicester". BBC Sport. 21 May 2009. Retrieved 21 May 2009.
  13. ^ a b "Neilson signs pre-contract agreement". www.LCFC.co.uk. Leicester City F.C. 22 May 2009. Archived from the original on 18 February 2012. Retrieved 22 May 2009.
  14. ^ "Ipswich 0 - 0 Leicester". BBC Sport. 15 August 2009. Retrieved 11 February 2010.
  15. ^ "Leicester 4 - 3 Macclesfield". BBC Sport. 10 August 2010. Retrieved 25 December 2010.
  16. ^ "Neilson joins Bees on loan". www.LCFC.co.uk. Leicester City F.C. 17 February 2011. Archived from the original on 23 September 2011. Retrieved 17 February 2011.
  17. ^ "Reed and Neilson extend loan deals at Brentford". BBC Sport. 23 Mar 2011. Retrieved 24 Mar 2011.
  18. ^ Shemilt, Stephan (3 April 2011). "Brentford 0 - 1 Carlisle". BBC Sport. Retrieved 3 April 2011.
  19. ^ "Foxes ready to offload duo". Sky Sports. 27 May 2011. Retrieved 3 June 2011.
  20. ^ "Friday's Scottish gossip". BBC News. 5 August 2011.
  21. ^ "Neilson relishes Dundee Utd deal". BBC News. 15 November 2011.
  22. ^ Thomson, Robert (15 November 2011). "Robbie's return!". The Scottish Sun. News International. Retrieved 15 November 2011.
  23. ^ "Dundee United boss Peter Houston eager to keep Robbie Neilson at Tannadice". Daily Record. Trinity Mirror. 25 April 2012. Retrieved 24 September 2012.
  24. ^ "Robbie Neilson close to deciding next move". The Courier. 4 June 2012. Retrieved 24 September 2012.
  25. ^ "Neilson in training with Falkirk". Falkirk Herald. 20 September 2012. Retrieved 24 September 2012.
  26. ^ "Fractured cheekbone rules out Neilson". The Scotsman. Johnston Publishing. 9 October 2012. Retrieved 10 October 2012.
  27. ^ "Neilson signs on at Bayview". heraldscotland.com. 10 September 2013. Retrieved 10 September 2013.
  28. ^ "Rangers v East Fife 31 Aug 2013". eastfifefc.info. 31 August 2013. Archived from the original on 28 October 2013. Retrieved 10 September 2013.
  29. ^ "Scots green light for Neilson". Sky Sports. BSkyB. Retrieved 21 October 2009.
  30. ^ "Shevchenko brings Scots back down to Earth". The Guardian. 11 October 2006. Retrieved 5 April 2018.
  31. ^ "Robbie returns". heartsfc.co.uk. 31 August 2013. Archived from the original on 2013-11-02. Retrieved 31 August 2013.
  32. ^ McLauchlin, Brian (12 May 2014). "Craig Levein lands Hearts role as boss Gary Locke exits". BBC Sport. Retrieved 12 May 2014.
  33. ^ "Hearts 3-1 Annan Athletic". BBC Sport. 26 July 2014. Retrieved 20 May 2015.
  34. ^ "Rangers 1-2 Hearts". BBC Sport. 10 August 2014. Retrieved 20 May 2015.
  35. ^ "Hearts 2-1 Hibernian". BBC Sport. 17 August 2014. Retrieved 20 May 2015.
  36. ^ "Hearts 2-3 Falkirk: Jambos Unbeaten Run Ends". Edinburgh Evening News. 24 January 2015. Retrieved 18 May 2015.
  37. ^ Neilson lands August award SPFL. 11-09-2014. Retrieved 20-05-2015.
  38. ^ Neilson wins October award SPFL. 07-11-2014. Retrieved 20-05-2015.
  39. ^ "Robbie Neilson eyes main prize after manager award". BBC Sport. 11 December 2014. Retrieved 20 May 2015.
  40. ^ Robbie Neilson wins 4th manager of the month award The Scotsman. 10-04-2015. Retrieved 20-05-2015.
  41. ^ "Hibernian 0-2 Rangers". BBC Sport. 22 March 2015. Retrieved 20 May 2015.
  42. ^ PFA Scotland Manager of the Year 2014-15 nominees PFA Scotland. 30-04-2015. Retrieved 19-05-2015.
  43. ^ PFA Scotland Awards 2014-15 winners PFA Scotland. 04-05-2015. Retrieved 19-05-2015.
  44. ^ "Robbie Neilson: MK Dons set to appoint Hearts head coach". BBC Sport. 30 November 2016. Retrieved 30 November 2016.
  45. ^ a b c "Neilson named MK Dons manager". Milton Keynes Dons F.C. 2 December 2016. Retrieved 3 April 2017.
  46. ^ "Milton Keynes Dons 1-0 AFC Wimbledon". BBC Sport. 10 December 2016. Retrieved 11 December 2016.
  47. ^ "Robbie Neilson: Dundee United appoint former Hearts head coach". BBC Sport. 8 October 2018. Retrieved 8 October 2018.
  48. ^ a b c Robertson, Neil (9 October 2018). "Dundee United's new boss Robbie Neilson challenged to repeat his Hearts promotion achievement". The Courier. DC Thomson Co Ltd. Retrieved 17 October 2018.
  49. ^ Winton, Richard (13 October 2018). "Partick Thistle 1-2 Dundee United". BBC sport. Retrieved 17 October 2018.
  50. ^ "Managers: Robbie Neilson". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 3 April 2017.
  51. ^ "MK Dons: Results/matches: 2016/17". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 5 October 2017. Individual seasons accessed via dropdown menu.
  52. ^ "Ex-Hearts boss Robbie Neilson named manager of the month". The Scotsman. 8 December 2016. Retrieved 8 December 2016.

External links[edit]