First Team

Craig's delight

9th December 2017

Manager delighted with hard-fought win over Steelmen.

Craig Levein admitted he was feeling relieved after Hearts sealed 1-0 win over Motherwell on Saturday afternoon.

After frustrating draws with Partick Thistle, Ross County and Hamilton Accies, a Kyle Lafferty goal 6 minutes before half-time secured the three points in a deserved victory.

Explaining that he and the squad could only blame their disappointing results on other circumstances for so long, Craig praised their character and their mentality to defend a slender lead comfortably for a great chunk of the match.

“That’s pretty much it,” said Craig. “It was a normal week and a win, the past few weeks I’ve been really frustrated but I feel really good today. It’s amazing what a difference the ball going over the line makes.

“I said to the players, we can talk as much as we like about deserving to win games, and things going against us, but the only thing that helps is winning. We needed to start winning games, and then we can talk about playing well.

“The past few weeks were an important lesson for us”, he explained. “It was a real test for us today, the last few weeks we’ve lost goals at bad times, but to give up territory and defend as we did today was terrific and we can take confidence from it.”

The Jambos were dealt a blow in the first half when Jamie Walker had to leave the field due to injury, but Craig told the press it was just a precaution, while also giving an update on Arnaud Djoum who was also replaced in the second half.

“Jamie felt his hamstring during the week, and so he only trained on Friday. He’s caught it before it becomes a major problem, although I don’t think he’ll make the game on Tuesday. Arnaud’s taken a kick on his previously injured knee a few times in the past few games, so he’s quite sore, but I’m hopeful he’ll be fit.”

Finally, Craig praised his goalscorer, with Lafferty netting his tenth goal of the season, all of his own making. 

“Kyle showed great determination,” said Craig. “It was one of the moments where we showed good composure, and Don slipped a nice pass through to him. I thought he’d lost it, but he showed real tenacity to get the ball and finish.

“As we all know, he’s had his own issues off the field to deal with lately, and I have to say he’s been very resilient, so it goes without saying that we’re all really pleased for him.”