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Robbie Neilson insists Hearts have to take a holistic look at the season as they aim to get back to winning ways against St Johnstone on Saturday.

Motherwell handed the Jambos only their second defeat in 14 matches across all competitions in their last outing, with a 2-0 win in the cinch Premiership at Fir Park.

The Gorgie outfit had no fixture last week due to Celtic being in the ViaPlay Cup final, but they return to action against Saints at Tynecastle with their head coach stressing the big picture.

The Jambos are in third place, five points ahead of Edinburgh rivals Hibernian, with a home Scottish Cup quarter-final tie against the Parkhead side looming next weekend following a league clash with the Hoops in midweek.

Neilson said: “The first 20-30 minutes against Motherwell we played really well but then lost a goal at a key moment, and after that never really got back into it again until the last 10-15 minutes.

“For me, it was a 50-minute period where we didn’t hit the levels we’ve hit throughout the season. But you have to take that in isolation and say, ‘where are we now?’

“We’re in the quarter-finals of the Scottish Cup, we had a great European campaign and we’re sitting third in the league, so let’s not get too carried away with a 50-minute period.

“We spoke about it after the game. Where are we now? What have we done this season? We still have a long way to go but we’re in a good position.

“We have a way of playing. We didn’t do it in the previous game for a period. It’s just a case of getting back to it and remaining calm.

“When you have these blips along the way people think you need to change this, you need to change that. But ultimately we just need to be better at what we are doing.”

Hearts have beaten Callum Davidson’s Saints side 3-2 both home and away this season, and Neilson is expecting, as always, another tough test.

He said: “The last couple of games have been very close.

“I know Callum very well and he is trying to change their style to more possession-based, football-based so coming to Tynecastle they will try to pass the ball and it is a game where the two teams will be trying to play.”

Jambos attacker Barrie McKay revealed he is getting used to a new way of life following the recent birth of his daughter, Rosie.

He said: “It’s quite surreal. It’s life-changing to be honest.

“My girlfriend Megan has been really good, she’s been doing most of the night feeds to let me sleep.

“As I say, it’s surreal. You genuinely don’t know what to expect and it’s 10 times better than that.

“If you ask any player, if you have problems or good things in your life, as soon as you step on the pitch you forget about everything. You just have something different to go home to.”