First Team

Sucker punch

3rd February 2018

Craig Levein admits he didn't see "sucker punch" of a late Motherwell winner coming.

Craig Levein admits he didn’t see Motherwell grabbing a late winner to send Hearts out of the William Hill Scottish Cup this afternoon.

The Jambos were in control of proceedings after Kyle Lafferty’s penalty had cancelled out Curtis Main’s early opener, but with three minutes remaining Carl McHugh struck a sensational winner.

The manager bemoaned his side’s first-half performance but thought they had done enough to at least earn a replay.

Speaking to the media at full time, he said: “I didn’t see it coming, in all honesty. I thought in the second half we were really good.

“I was thinking about whether we should try and change things to try and win it in the last five minutes.

“The first half performance was terrible. Although Motherwell didn’t have a lot of chances because we were stuffy, certainly in possession of the ball we were as poor as I’ve seen us in a while.

“I thought in the second half we were really goo and we controlled the game. I thought we had an unbelievable penalty claim, a clear handball, we hit the post, Carson’s made an unbelievable save from Kyle’s header and I honestly did not see that coming. It was a real sucker punch.

“We brought a big support through here today and I’m really disappointed for them. They made plenty of noise and got behind the team.

“Our first-half performance wasn’t good enough for them, our second-half performance was but we were hit by that sucker punch at the end and didn’t really have an awful lot of time after that to try and get back into the game.”