First Team

Craig: Test of character

6th December 2018

Craig Levein believes his players are undergoing a test of character at the moment after last night’s 2-2 draw at St Johnstone.

The Jambos looked to be heading towards all three points after Arnaud Djoum and Ollie Bozanic headers, either side of Blair Alston’s cushioned volley, had Hearts 2-1 up as the game entered the final 20 minutes.

Disaster struck, however, when referee Andrew Dallas pointed to the spot after Peter Haring had apparently committed an infringement inside the box against Saints’ Liam Gordon, and Matty Kennedy tucked away the penalty to secure a draw.

Irked by the penalty decision, the manager praised his players for another improved performance that should have seen them take a win in Perth.

“The players are disappointed, they’ve all seen the incident,” he said. “There might be another camera angle that shows a foul but when I looked at it, the ball isn’t anywhere near him.

“I’ve only seen three angles and I can’t see anything to indicate a penalty. I don’t want to go down that road, I don’t want to get myself into trouble. I’ll let the journalists write what they want and what they think about what happened. 

“It’s a test of character right now for the players, and for myself. All credit to the boys, this is a notoriously difficult ground to get anything from and they’ve been on a great run of form without conceding. 

“I don’t think we’re getting back to our best levels yet, and we won’t be until we get all our players back, but this was positive after Sunday. I don’t want to get into the refereeing, but I said nothing untoward to Andrew Dallas.

“I was really pleased with Christophe today. Clevid did much better, Sean Clare is getting there and Arnaud Djoum had possibly his best game of the season, but I find it really difficult to believe what’s happened tonight.”