First Team

Pitch perfect

23rd July 2018

Craig Levein reveals pitch is in great shape ahead of Cowdenbeath game

Craig Levein hopes the new Tynecastle pitch will be conducive to the style of play he wants his team to adopt.

The first-team trained on the new hybrid pitch for the first time this morning, and the manager revealed he was delighted with the surface, which will only get better with time.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference this afternoon, ahead of tomorrow night’s Betfred Cup match against Cowdenbeath, Craig said: “It’s great. We’ve left it a little bit longer - still within the rules, of course – but we’ve left it that little bit longer to protect it a little bit during training today.

“It’ll be cut a bit shorter tomorrow. It played well, I was really pleased with it, actually.

“It’ll improve because obviously the thickness of the grass will come in time. It’s still quite thin in parts but the weather will fix that, and that will help.

“We’ve changed the shape (of the team) slightly. The emphasis is more back on to the principles of play that we use at the academy, which I feel quite comfortable about.

“We’ve been working on the academy for four years on these same things.

“The good thing is that some of the young boys are well up to speed on what we’ve done in the academy, it’s just the senior players that need to get up there a bit quicker.

“You’ll see a different style of football.”

One player Craig is hoping will take to the pitch against Cowdenbeath is Kyle Lafferty.

The Northern Ireland striker was forced off during the game against Raith Rovers on Saturday with an injury, and the manager is willing to give him every opportunity to be ready to face the Blue Brazil tomorrow evening.

“He did a little bit of the warm up this morning and felt his back so we’re a wee bit cautious,” he said. “He didn’t do the majority of training. He’s improved a lot between yesterday and today.

“I’m hoping we can get the same improvement between today and tomorrow.

“If he is fit and available then he’ll play.”

Craig’s press conference is available to watch in full on HeartsTV.