Hearts boss Craig Levein 'pleased' with team's response but laments referee decisions

Hearts boss Craig Levein stated he was pleased with his team's response following the 5-0 defeat to Livingston last week but was once again bemoaning the fact that referee decisions hampered his side.

Saturday, 22nd December 2018, 4:55 pm
Updated Saturday, 22nd December 2018, 8:54 pm
Craig Levein felt decisions went against his Hearts side.

The Jambos fell behind after 63 seconds when Sam Cosgrove headed past debutant Colin Doyle before the forward added his and Aberdeen's second from the penalty spot after the interval.

Levein noted that the team still had their struggles in the attacking third but was content with his team's overall performance.

"I was really happy with the response after last week," he said. "It's a difficult place to come, it's a difficult fixture for any team in the league in particular when Aberdeen have hit a good spell of form recently, so we expected a tough match and that's what we got.

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"We made it twice as hard by conceding a goal in the first minute of the match which is never helpful but after that I thought we did quite well, obviously still got limitations in the forward areas and that will improve when we get Uche (Ikpeazu) back and also David Vanecek but the question I asked the players about responding after last week I was very pleased with."

However, Levein was left lamenting decisions by the officials and believed his side were deserving of two penalties.

He said: "My biggest gripe, once again, was that I thought there were three penalty decisions to be made and the softest of the lot was the one that was given (for Aberdeen).

"Steven Naismith was pulled to the ground, I asked him (referee John Beaton) but he said he didn't see it and Peter Haring had a free header where he was barged in the back and both of those claims were denied.

"I thought the game was pretty even from the beginning. We had spells of the match where we were on top and Aberdeen did the same but without either of the teams creating many clear-cut opportunities.

"In a game like that where it is so finely balanced... I feel like I sit here every week and say the same thing but big decisions and goals change games. It becomes quite exasperating when you feel like you are sitting down in this chair complaining about the same things."

He added: "I just wish the game was sooner to get this bad taste out my mouth."