Questions already raised include, "is the title race back on", "has the bubble burst", "will they fall to pieces" and "can they cope with the pressure". You may also wish to add, "will it rain frogs", "will the plague be coming" and "will Pharoah let my people go" to the melting pot of the knee-jerk inspired nonsense.
Yes Hearts lost and they didn't even give their supporters the crumb of comfort of even playing well either. Defeat is easier to take when you've given your best only for the opposition to better it. But Hearts in their 3-2 defeat to Falkirk, save for the first 10 minutes, stunk so badly that many began to think of the odour from the local brewery in a whole new light.
Despite the long unbeaten run they had enjoyed prior to this game, Hearts have not looked comfortable against teams who play a high-tempo pressing game. Rangers in their last visit to Tynecastle used it well before they became too enthusiastic with the plan and lost their discipline and subsequently their shape. Other teams in the division have used it but found that their levels of fitness would wane and allow Hearts to move up a gear or two. One team that hasn't had a problem with discipline or fitness when playing a pressing game against Hearts has been city rivals Hibs. Although the Leith side has only had two draws to show for it in Edinburgh derby clashes this season, those levelled affairs were games that could have gone their way.
Houston had clearly done his homework and had his players well-drilled in what they had to do. Even the early setback of going 1-0 inside two minutes to Genero Zeefuik's goal didn't phase them. They kept their shape and didn't panic such was the confidence they had in themselves to execute their manager's gameplan.
Neilson had made the call not to play holding midfielder Miguel Pallardó in order to play two out and out strikers in Zeefuik and Osman Sow up front. When the attacking duo were adequately supplied, they did look a useful combination. However, such moments were few and far between. The 1-1 draw at Easter Road last autumn prompted Neilson to beef up the midfield by playing Pallardó along with Mongaro Gomis and Prince Buaben such was the way Hibs were able to control the middle of the park that day. That plan has worked only for the lesson of "if it aint broke don't fix it" to haunt Neilson and his decision to tinker with it.
As Falkirk put their pressing tactics into operation, watching Gomis and Buaben being harried in making mistakes by their opponents was reminiscent of that encounter at Easter Road. As it became clear that fitness would not stop the visiting midfield from their work, it was obvious the Hearts centre-midfield duo would have trouble passing water, let alone the ball. Why Pallardó was not brought on by Neilson when it was painfully obvious that his presence was needed is a mystery but you would hope such reticence to make this particular move will not rear its head again.
If Hearts' midfield was having a torrid time of it, then the defence's tribute act to the walls of Jericho was painful to watch. Alim Özturk has been somewhat of a polarising figure amongst the support. Some say he's a class act, others label him as a 'bomb scare'. As he was suspended for this game, the latter group may well be ripping up their description of him and finally appreciating what he brings to the table given his presence was missed against Falkirk. His replacement Jordan McGhee not only gave away a silly penalty but also looked nervous throughout. In fairness to him, his captain a few metres away wasn't exactly a beacon of calmness himself.
Danny Wilson has of late not exactly been displaying the form that made Neilson decide to be his talisman on the pitch. Perhaps this status of being captain has drawn the centre-half in a false sense of security and let him get too comfortable with regard to his position in the squad. Or maybe, the burden of being captain of Heart of Midlothian football club is beginning to weigh heavy on his shoulders?
Captains step up to the plate and show calm and collected leadership. Panicking and silly errors from the man with the armband does not spread confidence to the rest of the team. If the captaincy is affecting Wilson's game, Neilson must do what the Alex MacDonald/Sandy Jardine management team did back in 1987. Then-captain Walter Kidd suffered a dip in form. A tough call had to be made (Kidd had been skipper for quite some time) with the captaincy being passed on to Craig Levein, who is of course now the current director of football. It worked - Levein took to the role like a duck to water and Kidd seemed almost liberated by the fact he could concentrate on his own game. Wilson needs to step back up to the plate otherwise Neilson will have a call to make.
Both Hearts and Neilson still have the luxury that despite this defeat, they are still some considerable way ahead of Rangers. Even if the Ibrox men win their game in hand, that would make the gap 10 points. Remember the outcry when Hearts beat Rangers at Tynecastle to go nine points clear? "Crisis at Ibrox" squealed everyone. Now it's Tynecastle's turn for histrionics even though Hearts are the team who have a double-digit lead over their nearest contenders. The title race can only be "back on" if that gap is cut to three points. Until then, Rangers still have a considerable amount of ground to recover.
Given the standard of the Scottish Championship, it would be surprising if Hearts caved in. The quality and fitness levels of the majority of teams have demonstrated that the number of upsets inflicted on any of the top three sides, let alone the Tynecastle men, until the end of the season will be few and far between.
Next season though has the potential to bring cause for concern. Assuming Hearts do win promotion, they will be facing teams in the Premier League who not only can press like Falkirk did but have more quality and stamina than Houston's men.
Only then we will see if Neilson's coaching abilities make him as being 'one for the future'.