First Team

Craig Hails Gritty Performance

9th March 2019

Craig Levein was encouraged by his side’s ability to win ugly after the 1-0 victory over Dundee at Dens Park.

It was a scrappy affair won by a scrappy goal when Sean Clare poked the ball under Seny Dieng following a six-yard stramash.
There were few chances after that although Dundee launched a late flurry of attacks towards the Hearts goal, all of which were repelled by Bobby Zlamal.
“When we arrived it was very, very, windy and the weather changed numerous times through game. The pitch was quite bumpy,” said Craig,
 “It was never going to be a classic so we had to have the mindset if the game becomes scrappy and bitty that we have to be able to do well in those situations to enable us to win the game. It pleased me that we didn’t play particularly well and we won.”
The game was won by Sean Clare’s toe-poke – a player who in recent weeks has become one of the first names on the team sheet.
“He’s a great kid and he just tries his hardest in every match. He’s been unfortunate recently but I’ve got a lot of faith him. Once he gets up to speed and once he gets this season under his belt, I’m sure he’ll understand the Scottish game really well.
“He’s getting better a lot of the things in midfield that you need to be able to do - winning second balls, being in the right positions, screening when needed. He’s good, I like him and he’s going to be a really good player.”
The Jambos are still in fifth place but are tied on points with fourth-placed Kilmarnock with only four games to go before the split.
“We’ve still got a lot to do, but this’ll give us confidence,” Craig said. “It’s not always playing well that gives you confidence, it’s winning. Sometimes winning ugly gives you more confidence than anything.
“We’ve got a game against Partick [Thistle] on Tuesday night now which we’ll be favourites for and that’ll be slightly different to this match. But, we’re very aware that if we’d come here and not gotten anything that it would’ve been more difficult going into Tuesday.”