First Team

Craig: We'll take positives into Monday

1st March 2019

Craig Levein believes the positives from Hearts' performance against Celtic will give them confidence before the Scottish Cup quarter-final.

The Jambos were desperately unlucky to lose to league leaders Celtic on Wednesday night, as Odsonne Edouard scored with nearly the last kick of the ball to make it 2-1.

"I've watched the game - it was pretty much as I remembered it," Craig said. "I'm still frustrated that we didn't take anything from the match but there were a lot of positives to take and we can use those, not just for the game on Monday, but for the rest of the season."

Taking any points would have been the perfect tonic for Hearts who have hit a slight bump in the road ahead of the match against Partick Thistle on Monday night. 

The Jags are bottom of the Championship, despite racking up five wins on the trot in January. However, they have lost their last two encounters against Ross County and Dunfermline Athletic.

"The thing is we're away from home - I'd rather be at home," Craig admitted. "Partick are fighting for their lives in the Championship and they've got some very experienced players who, if they're on their game on Monday, have got really good quality.

"We need to be focused and work really hard. We'll need to run a lot in this match I feel and the onus will be on us to take the game to Partick, even though we're away from home."

Wednesday night has boosted morale in the camp despite the scoreline. Ollie Bozanic's second-half penalty levelled the scores and despite the Jambos playing with ten men for the entirety of the second-half, it looked likely that the hosts would pick up a point.

"I think there was enough in the performance last night to see that we can really compete with everybody again. We've got a few problems defensively with injuries again but we'll cope with that."

Speaking on what pleased him most about Wednesday's performance, Craig said: "I think generally, just competing with the team that are recognised just now to be the best in the league.

"There were some good performances from players who have had injury problems and have struggled to get right back to their best which gives me a fair bit of pleasure because I feel thats back to where they were previously, so those two things would be the top of the list." 

Thistle have gotten through two rounds of the Scottish Cup so far, dispatching Stranraer and East Fife to make it to the Sixth Round and the manager is wary of the threat the Jags pose.

"I still see Partick Thistle as a big club and that in itself gives us enough of a warning to not go into this game thinking because they're bottom of the Championship that they're going to win this game easily. That's just not the case. We know enough about them not to take them too lightly.

"It's a good opportunity to get to a semi-final so I'll be playing our best team."

You can watch all of Craig's press conference on HeartsTV by clicking here.