First Team

Solid foundations

23rd December 2017

Craig Levein pleased with impressive defence yet again but rues missed chances.

Craig Levein admitted his side wasted two good chances to earn a first win at McDiarmid Park this afternoon as the ten-man Jambos fought out a 0-0 draw with St Johnstone.

Jon McLaughlin produced a fine save late on from David Wotherspoon, while Kyle Lafferty missed a gilt-edged chance in the second half for Hearts, who had to play the last fifteen minutes a man short after Harry Cochrane’s dismissal for two bookings.

After gaining a point, the manager was happy with his side’s fifth clean sheet in six matches, as he enthused about his team’s defensive security. 

“It was a typical game against St Johnstone,” said Craig. “It was very competitive, but I didn’t feel under any pressure, even with ten men.

“It never felt like we’d lose a goal, we were defensively sound, but I’m just a bit disappointed with how the match ended with the red card.

“I’m happy with the clean sheet,” he continued. “We’re building strong defensive foundations, but we missed two good chances today and should definitely have scored.

“Historically, this is a hard place for us to get a win, but it wasn’t to be today. Even though we didn’t get the win, we were never struggling at any point.”

When pressed on Cochrane’s red card, Craig found it difficult to hide his disappointment for the youngster after a second look via video replay indicated the sixteen-year-old was extremely hard done by.

Paired with his frustration, the manager stated he believed Harry would learn from the incident as he continues his football development that has impressed so many onlookers, as well as the Hearts support.

“Harry hasn’t touched him,” explained Craig. “He’s not tried to make a tackle, he’s trying to block a clearance, and I’m not convinced the referee even saw it.

“There’s no point asking any more about it, we can’t appeal it so we have to move on. He’s absolutely gutted that he’s been sent off.

“He’s hugely disappointed to have been sent off firstly, but also that he had to leave his teammates with ten men for the remainder of the match. 

“I’ve had one look at it, and I’m a little bit annoyed, but Harry can learn from this. He learns new things in every match, and today he has learned not to give a referee an opportunity to make a decision like that in future.”