First Team

Craig: Players know what's at stake

11th March 2019

Craig Levein says his players know exactly what’s at stake tomorrow night as they bid to see off Partick Thistle and get to a second cup semi final of the season.

The Jambos host the Jags at Tynecastle after the two sides drew 1-1 at Firhill last week.

It was a game Hearts largely dominated but could not find the killer second goal, and were punished by a quick Thistle breakaway.

They lock heads again tomorrow evening in Gorgie and the manager hopes his team thrives off the pressure of being seen as the favourites, and wants the men in maroon to take their chances when they come along.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference, Craig said: “We’ve been in one semi final already this season, when we played Celtic at Murrayfield, and if we can get through tomorrow night we’ll be in a second semi final of the season, which I think hasn’t been done here for 14 years. That’s a big carrot for us.

“I don’t think we’ll need an extra incentive (to progress). The players know what’s at stake.

“They’ll be keyed up and keen to make up for the draw last week, in a game that we dominated and should’ve won.

 

“We know what we’re facing. Some of the players hadn’t played against Partick before, but they have now. They know what they’re facing so there will be no surprises.

“The players have learned to be patient from the first game, and we need to take our opportunities when they come along. Those two things, for me, will be key.

“I think that’s always a good pressure, to be favourites in the match. That’s why I’m talking about patience.

“In an ideal world we’ll start the game well and get in front and make things easier but that’s not always the case.

“I thought Gary Caldwell had his team well organised last week, although we had opportunities to score, and I’m sure they’ll try and hit us on the break.

“We need to be wary of that, we need to be patient when we’re in possession and if we take our chances when they come along then it would certainly make it much easier than it was last week.”

Craig’s press conference is available to watch in full on HeartsTV by clicking here.