First Team

Craig: "First half not good enough"

5th November 2017

Manager disappointed with defeat to Kilmarnock.

Craig Levein admitted his side contributed to their own issues in today’s defeat by Kilmarnock, after a poor first half left Hearts trailing at the break.

Kris Boyd gave the visitors the lead, before Isma equalised with fifteen minutes to go. Isma's late one-on-one was well saved by Jamie MacDonald and Killie stormed up the pitch to score again.

“I’m disappointed not to win the match,” he said. “We didn’t do enough in the first half at all, we were really poor. We created our own problems by being too negative, passing back the way and making the crowd anxious, rightly so. 

“The second half was a hell of a lot better, but I did not envision us losing the match once we levelled it. We had a few chances, but it was sods law that we’d miss our chance, then they would go up the park and score.

“I’m disappointed we didn’t perform properly and to our capabilities, but now is the time to stick together, and work hard.”

When asked if he felt the impending return to Tynecastle on league duty for the first time in seven months was going to be useful, the manager admitted the team needed to “get home” but conceded they’d need to play better if they wanted results.

“If we play like we did in the first half today, it won’t matter where we play,” he stated. “We’ll have at least four players back for the next game, some starters too, which will help. 

“Getting back to Tynecastle will help us though, it’s just more comfortable and it makes us feel more at ease. We can feel comfortable there, which we haven’t done in some time.”

Finally, Craig offered an update on Aaron Hughes, who has been called up by Northern Ireland, and Harry Cochrane who was missing from the squad today.

“Aaron won’t play for Northern Ireland until Sunday at the earliest”, he explained. “I was pushing for him to start today, but he’s an experienced player and he knows his own body. With a week of full training, he’ll be good to go for us at the next game.

“I just decided to let Harry rest a little, I felt the last match was one game too many for him at this stage. He’ll be grateful for the opportunities at this point, I’m sure. 

“He and some of the other young lads are players I really like and they’ll be starters in the future, but they’ll make their way into the team gradually.”