First Team

Craig: Players deserve credit

2nd December 2017

Manager proud of effort shown by ten-man Hearts in Accies draw.

Craig Levein praised the efforts of his side today as ten-man Hearts earned a draw with Hamilton Accies despite playing with ten men for over an hour.

After Jamie Brandon’s first-half red card, a Jamie Walker free-kick gave the ten men the lead, but a Xavier Tomas header levelled the match, and a fine Jon McLaughlin save in stoppage time prevented a harsh loss.

“That was hard work for everybody,” said Craig. “Firstly, I’m really pleased with the players’ response after the red card. If Jamie’s done something untoward, we’ll deal with it, as it left us with a difficult task for the rest of the game.

“All credit to the players for getting the goal and even looking likely to get another. You wouldn’t have thought we were a man down at that point, but ultimately it’s a draw when we wanted a win.”

During the match, Craig and assistant Austin MacPhee were both sent to the stands by official Bobby Madden for separate incidents, and Craig admitted he was none-the-wiser as to the reason behind his dismissal.

He did, however, express surprise at Austin’s sending-off after Hamilton’s Darian Mackinnon had tackled him to the ground within the dugout area as he tried to grab the ball. The previously-booked midfielder escaped without punishment, while the Jambos no.2 was asked to leave the technical area.

“I don’t know why I was sent off, the referee hasn’t told me why,” he said. “He ran 25 yards over to me, then wanted me to walk 5 yards to speak to him. As for Austin, I don’t know how he can be blamed for the situation, he was rugby tackled. Hamilton knew their player was lucky to get away with it, and they took him off. 

“I don’t think I did anything wrong, I haven’t been told why I was sent off, if it’s for not walking four yards then I think that’s bizarre. Someone said they thought the referee had lost control, and I would agree with that. What about the football?”