First Team

Craig heaps praise on players after semi-final win

13th April 2019

Craig Levein was full of praise for his players following their dominant 3-0 win over Inverness in the semi-final of the Scottish Cup.

Second-half goals from Uche Ikpeazu, John Souttar and Sean Clare sealed victory for the Jambos, meaning they will travel back to Hampden for the final on May 25th.

"I think we ran out worthy winners," Craig said. "The first-half was a bit closer than the second. I thought we were a little bit nervous in the first-half and got rid of the ball quicker than we needed to.

"But, half-time came at a good time for us and we managed to settle the nerves a little. Once we got the first goal we were in complete control and other than the free-kick that Bobby saved I don't recall any major chances for Inverness."

Uche Ikpeazu's 49th-minute strike calmed things down for the Jambos and they never looked back from there as Jake Mulraney produced a man-of-the-match performance, ably assited by his teammates.

"Jake's been showing in glimpses how devastating he can be when he gets on the ball and attacks and plays on the front foot. He's shown that in a lot of matches but he hasn't put together a performance like the performance he put on today.

"He's not a guy who's blessed with the most confidence so I think this will help him enormously and I was really chuffed with him today.

It caps off a season in which Hearts have become a cup force, reaching the League Cup semi-final and now the Scottish Cup final.

"For the first time in fourteen years we've gotten to two semi-finals this year. Now we've got a semi-final and a final. I don't know how many years it's been since that happened. We've had a very rollercoaster season but I'm so pleased and proud of the players for the way they dealt with the pressure today."

"It's a very proud moment for me and I'll be even prouder when the Final comes round. I've done a lot of things in football but to come back and win a Cup for Hearts would be the best thing that I've ever done."