Robbie Neilson hailed his ‘magnificent’ players after their resilient display in the victory over Peterborough United.
Neilson’s side were forced to play with nine men for 55 minutes of Saturday’s clash at Stadium MK but were still able to hold on to their 1-0 lead given to them by Chuks Aneke’s seventh goal of the season – a goal scored after Joe Walsh was dismissed for a professional foul.
The victory was the Dons’ first in six games and the boss had nothing but praise for his group in his post-match press conference.
“The players were magnificent and they deserve all the credit they get,” Neilson said. “They all worked hard and they all did what they had to do. They all played for the Club and played for each other so I couldn’t ask anymore from them.
“We’ve gone through an extremely difficult period where we’ve found it difficult to get three points. There were a lot of things that went against us today too but this is a Club that rose against the odds and at times we have to play against the odds as well – we managed to do that.
“The players kept fighting and showed the spirit that we’ve got here. They are desperate to do well for this Football Club. If a team that was disillusioned went down to nine men, they would lose the game. We went down to nine men today and they stood up to the plate.”
He continued: “It was a massive performance and let’s hope we carry that through to the game on Monday.”
There was also a mention for the supporters, who were right behind their side throughout Saturday’s contest and created a special and united atmosphere inside Stadium MK.
“The fans were phenomenal – absolutely phenomenal – with the way they helped the players through it. Hopefully they appreciate the workload that the players put in.”
Here’s what else we learnt from Neilson’s pre-match press conference...
On the referee...
"I felt the referee lost control of the game. He’s now sent off seven players in four games which doesn’t reflect well. We shouldn’t be sitting here talking about the referee – we should be talking about the players.”
On the quick turnaround...
“They have to recover now because it’s a massive turnaround [for Monday]. We’re going to ask them to dig it out again – I’m sure they will.”
On Saturday’s win being a turning point in the season...
“We hope [it is a turning point]. It’s been a while since we got a win but when you work hard, things eventually turn in football – I think we saw that today.
“We have to continue to keep turning it. Even though we’ve jumped up the table, we are still not in the position we want to be in – we need to keep pushing forward.”
On Ousseynou Cisse’s performance in defence...
“Ouss played there in France quite a bit and he plays there for Mali. At the start of the season, the idea was to possibly play him as part of a back three. He knows the game, he works hard and organises well.
“There will be periods this season where he’ll play centre half again but I think he’s best utilised in the centre of the pitch.”
On creating chances despite man disadvantage...
“We did extremely well until we got a man sent off and even then, we did extremely well and went up the pitch and got the goal. We had three or four really good chances [in the first half].
“Even in the second half, with nine men, we had a couple of counter attacks where we might have got another goal with some better decision making.”
On watching the second half from the Directors’ Box...
“It’s the first time I’ve gone up there and looked down. It allows you to see the game from a difficult angle.
“I have two great staff here in Stevie Crawford and Neil MacFarlane, who both have great experience and have managed at first-team level.
“It might be something to do in the future – I might need to do it!”