First Team

Craig Delighted with Improvement

16th August 2019

Craig Levein left Fir Park a happy man after his side’s convincing win over Motherwell saw them progress to the quarter-finals of the Betfred Cup.

The manager was also delighted with the response from his player’s following their disappointing result the previous weekend – a 0-0 draw with Ross County.

“We were a hell of a lot better than last week,” the gaffer said. “I can’t explain last week, I don’t know what happened but we had a talk about what’s expected when you play for Hearts and I know the players were slightly embarrassed, as was I.”
 
“I had a good feeling in training that we’d put on a good show tonight.”
 
Craig made four changes to the side; one of those being youngster Andy Irving, who was reinstated to the starting eleven after he missed out against the Staggies.
 
“Andy Irving is a lovely football player. If I’m going to play him, I need to know he can do the other stuff as well as he can pass the ball. If he can get to the level we hope for, his technical ability is second to none.
 
“Aaron Hickey’s technically excellent too, they just need to learn - Aaron has a bit of devilment and aggression about him - but Andy needs a bit more of that to compete in midfield.”

The manager was also proud of his defence, who held out at the end of the game despite Motherwell’s persistent efforts.

“Our defence was really poor on Saturday [against Ross County] despite the clean sheet, but tonight Berra and Halkett were imperious.
 
“Michael Smith had tonsillitis and played like that, and then Hickey was what he always is, which is outstanding, so it was good to see them back to what we all know they can do.”