Craig Levein was left cursing Hearts’ luck after injuries, a controversial penalty and an uncharacteristic goalkeeping error left the Jambos on the wrong end of a 3-0 scoreline at the hands of Celtic today.
Missing several key players already, captain Steven Naismith left the field injured after only five minutes of the Betfred Cup semi-final match at BT Murrayfield.
Referee Willie Collum awarded Celtic a second-half penalty after Ryan Christie fell under the challenge of Ollie Bozanic, before Bobby Zlamal spilled a Callum McGregor shot which allowed James Forrest the simplest of tap ins.
“I’m obviously disappointed and frustrated, as I’m sure you could guess,” said Craig. “Steven’s injury didn’t make me feel any better, and I’m sure Brendan was happy to see him go off.
“The lads followed the game plan to perfection until the penalty, and then Bobby made a mistake - which, I genuinely think is the first he’s made this season - and we’re 2-0 down having not done a lot wrong.
“I thought the penalty award was very soft indeed. Bozanic’s foot isn’t even off the ground and Christie is just waiting on it, but it’s given Willie Collum a decision to make.
“And I don’t think Ollie protests enough even to the point where Willie isn’t sure.
“But all that work and effort we put in, feeling good about how things were going, so to lose a goal like that was galling.
“It’s an uncharacteristic error from the goalkeeper, but people make mistakes.
“It’s an awkward time for us in the match for that to happen, and certainly until Celtic got in front, they looked leggy but once the goals go in their tails are up and we feel a bit sorry for ourselves.”