Craig Levein wary of Celtic and left drained by transfer window
Hearts benefited from a perfect storm the last time they face Celtic but Craig Levein believes the Hoops will be out to prove lightening cannot strike twice on tomorrow night.
The Jambos became the first Scottish side to down Brendan Rodgers’ side in 70 attempts when they produced a shock 4-0 Tynecastle triumph last month.
However, Levein admits everything that could have gone his side’s way did as Celtic collapsed.
Now ahead of the return clash in Glasgow, the Hearts manager knows the champions will be out to right the wrongs of their record-ending defeat.
“The last time we faced Celtic was a perfect moment,” said Levein. “A lot of things collided to make that game one we were capable of winning.
“We scored at the right time, the pitch wasn’t in the best of condition, Celtic didn’t capitalise on the opportunities they had – so all those things went together to help us win.
“It did give us confidence and it will give us confidence going to Celtic Park tomorrow.
“But it will be a very, very difficult task. Brendan is a top manager and very quickly got his players back together again and got them on another run. He’s a top boss – he might even do for the Scotland job, you never know.
“I don’t know if revenge is the right word for their approach. Celtic have beat us a lot and we have gone into these games looking for revenge and got nothing.
“So I think Celtic will be hurting after seeing their run come to an end. It was a spectacular run that everybody rightly gave them a lot of praise for and I think they’ll be out to prove a point.”
Isma Goncalves became the latest player to depart Levein’s squad when he sealed a £350,000 switch to Uzbek side Pkhtakor Tashkent on Sunday.
The Hearts boss is hopeful he can fill that void before Wednesday’s transfer deadline but admits the stress of the window has left him drained.
“People have said Isma’s move here didn’t work out but he scored nearly a goal every two matches,” said Levein. “In any league that’s really good going.
“It was good for us and good for him. He’s got himself a new deal worth a lot of money, we more than doubled our money so we’re quite happy with that.
“I’m trying to get someone in before Wednesday night but it’s a difficult window, it really is.
“That’s without us losing any more. We have had interest in our guys but nothing concrete. I’ve got so many things up in the air at the moment. We just need to see what happens.
“This window is worse than the summer window. At least in the summer you feel like you can breathe. Now we’re in this manic period where we seem to be playing constantly and also at the same time trying to worry about what the squad looks like.”