First Team

Strength in numbers

2nd August 2018

Craig Levein believes summer signings have given him more squad depth as Hearts prepare to face Hamilton Accies

Craig Levein believes his summer signings have given him a more balanced side, with more options to put out a winning team.

The Jambos begin the 2018/19 Ladbrokes Premiership season with a trip to Hamilton Accies on Saturday, and the manager feels good about the options available to him as they look to get off to a winning start at the Hope CBD Stadium.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference today, Craig said: “I know we’ve got a more balanced team.

“That’s quite easy to work out just by looking at the players that we’ve got.

“We’ve more left-footed players than we’ve had for a while.

“We’ve got competition for places, which is important.

“I can’t tell you exactly where we are. I don’t know. I’m hoping there is a lot of improvement to come from everybody.

“The competition for places is a big thing for me. That’s something that we toiled with last season.

“I feel quite good about that. If something’s not working I can do something about it.

“There is nothing more frustrating as manager than not being able to fix something you know is wrong. I’m hopeful that we’ve got it right.”

Two of those options face a race against time to be fit for the Accies clash. Michael Smith missed last week’s win over Inverness CT while Ben Garuccio has struggled with an injury since.

Craig will give both players every chance to make the game but admits than one is more likely to feature than the other.

“Michael Smith and Ben Garuccio have both been injured,” he said. “Ben played (against ICT) and came off, Michael didn’t play on Sunday.

“They’re both improving. Ben’s probably more likely to be involved than Michael but I’m not sure. We’ll just have to wait and see.”

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