First Team

Levein encouraged by individual performances

12th July 2019

Craig Levein was a happy man on Friday evening as Hearts secured the bonus point win against Dundee United.

The Jambos had to fight back after Lawrence Shankland's early goal, but a first Hearts goal for youngster Andy Irving levelled the tie. 

The 19-year-old was then sent off towards the end of the 90 minutes for a professional foul but that didn't deflate Hearts as they went on to win 5-3 in the penalty shoot-out - not missing a single spot-kick.

"I said to the players after the game I was quite happy with their performance tonight," the gaffer told the press.

"Experience tells me we'll get better. This was our first competitive match and I felt that the pressure was on us and United could come and enjoy themselves.

"But, I was really pleased with a lot of aspects in the match, particularly individual performances. Some of the combinations in the field worked really well."

The hosts had a number of chances in the first-half but failed to convert until Irving's 43rd-minute volley.

"For long spells we controlled the match. My little criticism is our ruthlessness in front of goal. If we had been [ruthless], I'm sure the game would've been much easier."

However, the gaffer was delighted with his debutants Jamie Walker and Conor Washington, as well as the youngsters on show.

"I thought Jamie was excellent in spells, particularly in the first half. I was pleased for [Andy Irving] and I thought Hickey was really good.

"He finished the season really well last season and he's started this one equally as well. Jake Mulraney the same. There's a lot of encouraging things that I can take from the match."