First Team

Craig thrilled with resilience

14th October 2017

Manager delighted as ten-man Jambos earn vital win at Ross County.

Craig Levein was delighted with the resilience shown by his side in today’s hard-fought 2-1 win over Ross County at the Global Energy Stadium.

The Jambos were victorious thanks to goals from Isma Gonvcalves and Jamie Walker, and held on for the last half-hour with ten men following Connor Randall’s dismissal for two bookable offences.

“It was good, coming up here’s never easy, but overall I was really pleased with how we played,” said Levein. “We’ve not quite got major momentum yet, but for long spells we did things I hope we end up doing week in, week out.

“I told them at half-time if they wanted to win the game, they’d need to pass the ball properly and respond to the challenge, and they gave me a pretty good answer.”

The side had to reshuffle tactically following Randall’s red card, with in-form U20 starlet Euan Henderson leading the line superbly by himself, pushing Kyle Lafferty and Jamie Walker deeper into the midfield, where both were terrific and hard-working.

Craig also showered acclaim on his central-defensive pairing of Christophe Berra and John Souttar, with Berra putting his international disappointments behind him to lead by example and Souttar clearing everything he could.

“It was good to see the resilience once we went down to ten men,” he explained. “Players really have to sacrifice themselves to get the result. Kyle Lafferty had to go wide right, and did a perfectly good job there, while Jamie Walker was excellent at defensive midfield.

“Christophe Berra proved again what a massive signing he was today, and when games develop into long balls like they did towards the end, he deals with everything, but I was really thrilled with John Souttar today. 

“He passed the ball around as well as we’ve come to expect, but he also won four or five big headers towards the end of the match to clear the danger, and he’s turning into a really top centre-half.”

Finally, Craig admitted he was looking forward to getting the team back to Tynecastle. Stating that he felt they could turn that home advantage into more points, his first aim is to get momentum in the next three matches - two at Murrayfield, sandwiched with a game away to Hibs.

“We can only go on past evidence, and that is that Tynecastle is where we pick up the majority of our points, so my aim now is to get us as much momentum as possible until we get back there next month, feeling good about ourselves, and when we get on a role, that will help enormously.”