First Team

Case for the defence

15th September 2018

Craig Levein has praised his side’s solidity at the back as another clean sheet helped the Jambos secure a 1-0 victory away to Motherwell.

Steven Naismith’s first-half strike was enough to bag all three points and continue Hearts’ unbeaten start to the season.

The men in maroon sit five points clear at the top of the Ladbrokes Premiership table and the manager believes one of the reasons why they find themselves out in front is due to the strength at the back.

“I thought it would be really tough today,” he said. “I thought our base strength was our defending, and our two young centre-halves were nothing short of amazing.

“I watched the Motherwell v Rangers game and the Motherwell strikers caused them all sorts of problems, but today Bobby only had one save to make because defended magnificently.

“They were bombarding our box without creating any chances, and any time we won the ball it would set up a chance on the counter for us.

“We could have scored another 3 times on the break if we’d squared the ball, but that’s something to work on in training.

“I didn’t think there was a lot in the first half of the match, Callumn Morrison had a shot and Peter Haring should have scored a header, and Bobby obviously made that save to his right.

“My memory’s obviously getting better so that’s a good sign. In the second half we looked dangerous.” 

A near 3,000-strong travelling support backed the team from first whistle to last, and Craig was quick to single the fans out for praise and reveal just how important a part they play in proceedings.

“I wanted to go out and see the fans at the end of the match,” he said. “I thought they were brilliant today, it was like a home game at times with the noise.

“It helps the players so much and they may not realise.

“Every time Jimmy Dunne and John Souttar repelled their attacks and cleared the ball, they would cheer every clearance, and I never felt overly stressed as a result.”