The former Tynecastle captain is among a disappearing breed of professionals who have been honoured for their steadfast loyalty to one club. Neilson's decade-long commitment to Hearts was celebrated in 2008 with a testimonial against a team made up of Scottish Cup winners from the 1998 and 2006 sides.
However, for as long as Neilson occupies the Tynecastle dugout, the retired right-back has no plans to create an environment that will generate such exhibition games in future.
Following a fruitful summer that has seen Neilson and director of football Craig Levein add eight fresh faces, Netherlands-born Turkish centre-half Alim Ozturk and Swedish forward Osman Sow are among those likely to start in today's Championship opener at Rangers.
And Neilson is candidly encouraging their new recruits to use Hearts as a stepping stone to bigger things.
"Our thing when we are bringing guys in is that, when they come here, it is a springboard for them - a stepping stone to going to the next level, especially with the guys who come from abroad," said Neilson.
"We have a couple of guys who have come here from Holland and Sweden and ultimately they want to play in England. They are open about that and they see they have a better chance going from Scotland to England than from, say, Sweden to England.
"We don't want guys who are going to be here 10 years. We want guys who are going to come in and do well and be away to the next level in two or three years' time. They come to Hearts and then they go on again.
"And then you get the next guy coming in and the kids coming on as well, and then they, in turn, move on. You just keep churning them over, get one good player then the next one is better - then the one after that is better again.
"If we get a guy who comes in from such and such country and he comes in and does well for two years and then moves on to a big club down in England - the next guy we want will see that and think I want a piece of that as well."
Asked if that meant there was no room for players like himself any more, Neilson replied: "I don't think there is much room for any player like that in the Scottish game to be honest, especially with the financial side of the game.
"Kids are coming in and we are putting them in and trying to develop them. If we get an offer in and the offer is acceptable then the boys will go. One, it is good for the club and two, as long as he picks the right club then it is good for the player.
"That is my job here, to develop players to a level where they are too good for us. Also my role is to make the right decisions so that when a player goes, we have a player ready to come in and take over."
After stepping up from his role as Hearts Under-20s manager, Neilson has had the summer to adjust to the demands of being a first-team head coach. But the 34-year-old admits that it is still something he is getting used to.
"That's probably been the hardest bit, time management," he said. "You have to decide what you want to focus on and make sure you have time for certain things.
"I have to try to learn to become better at delegating. Before, when I took the 20s, I did the planning, the taking of it, doing the video, the whole shebang.
"Now I need to try to delegate. [Assistant head coach] Stevie Crawford has obviously come in, [Under-20s coach] Jack Ross has come in.
"We have John Hill as sports science and had a sports science and a video analysis guy starting during the week."