First Team

Gaffer's praise

25th August 2018

Craig Levein praises his side for plugging away and unlocking Killie defence to win at Rugby Park and continue unbeaten start to season

Craig Levein thought it would be harder to get the breakthrough goal after Kilmarnock were reduced to ten men, but was delighted for Uche Ikpeazu after he headed Hearts a deserved winner.

Gary Dicker’s straight red for a challenge on Callumn Morrison in the second-half meant that the game was no longer open, with the hosts defending deeper.

The manager revealed it was a concern that his side might not be able to unlock Kilmarnock’s defence, but praised the boys for sticking at it and doing just that.

“We had some good chances, Jamie MacDonald had a couple of brilliant saves, “ he said. “Very rarely in the game did they get more than two players in our box, but we were giving away free kicks, which was our achilles heel today.

“That lets them get five or six players into the box instead, but I thought we deserved to win today. We dominated before the red card.

“I actually got more worried when they went down to ten men, as they got really compact, and deeper, narrower, so I was worried we wouldn’t find the quality to unlock them but all credit to the boys for plugging away.

“Uche is still really young, obviously he’s just moved up here and doesn’t know the league, which can also help as defences may not know what his strengths and weaknesses are, but he was on a goal drought so it was good to see him get back on the score sheet.”