First Team

We're getting better

12th December 2017

Craig pleased with second win in three days.

Craig Levein was pleased to see his side continue their good form with a second win in the space of three days following a 2-0 victory over Dundee.

Isma Goncalves and Christophe Berra got the goals, but sixteen-year-old debutant Anthony McDonald stole the show with two assists as he lit up an excited Tynecastle crowd on a rainy night in Gorgie.

Although Hearts enjoyed the majority of the chances in the match, their opponents passed the ball around nicely and were in the game until Berra’s late goal sealed the win and boosted confidence further after Saturday’s win over Motherwell.

“It was a good performance,” said Craig. “I didn’t feel comfortable until the last ten minutes. The game was still in the balance up until the second goal, and Dundee did look dangerous on occasion, but it was a better performance than Saturday’s match.

“I’m sure the confidence from Saturday was apparent tonight, because we played some really good football at times and I’m hopeful we can take that into Sunday’s match.”

When asked if he felt he was making a big call to field McDonald, the manager admitted there was no risk attached because of the ability on display every day in training, allowing him to put his faith in his talented teens.

He was also keen to point out that the game wouldn’t just be about the positive feelings from the young stars, as Harry Cochrane and Lewis Moore also put in terrific displays, but the experienced campaigners in the side too, who could take heart from the past two matches.

“It wasn’t a big decision if you watch him every day,” he smiled. “With Jamie out, there’s no other player like him other than Anthony. He’s been the stand-out player in his age group with Harry and three or four others.

“I’m surprised they’re involved at such a young age, but they’re just good players. I believe in them, but the thing is, the other players believe in them too. They’ve not been parachuted in from nowhere.

“They’ve been training with the first team since the summer when they came in from school, so the players know their strengths. They can give them the ball in tight areas, and expect them to deal with it.

“I’m not focused on the young lads feeling good, though. It was just as important for players like Christophe, who got on the scoresheet as well as kept a clean sheet, and Isma to get a win from a good performance. I’m delighted with that, and I’m hopeful we’ve turned a corner now.”