Craig Levein is anticipating another strong home performance from Hearts against high-flying Aberdeen on Saturday.
While a string of disappointing away results have damaged the Edinburgh side’s campaign, they have remained a solid proposition on their own patch. Hearts haven’t lost at Tynecastle for 11 months, since Aberdeen triumphed in the last game in front of the old main stand at the start of May last year. In their last ten games in Gorgie, there have been seven wins, three draws and eight clean sheets. This record, allied to the fact Hearts have drawn both of their matches with Aberdeen this season, gives Levein optimism that they can hold their own against a side who sit three points clear in second place after winning their last three matches.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Levein told the Evening News. “We’ve had two tight games with Aberdeen this season and I expect the same again. They have got their sights on second place and they’re always difficult opponents, but I feel good because we’re at home and our home record is really good.”
Hearts have been able to pick up results against all five teams currently above them in the Premiership over the course of the season, but they currently languish 15 points adrift of fourth-place Hibs and a whopping 19 behind second-place Aberdeen. Levein feels several factors – including a wretched run of injuries and playing the first 13 games of the league campaign away from Tynecastle – have prevented Hearts generating the required momentum to challenge at the top of the table.
“Our problem this year has been consistency, particularly away from home,” he said. “We haven’t managed to win games or even see them out when we get into good positions. Once we get a bit of momentum, that should become a bit easier. There’s a lot of work to be done in the summer but we’ve got important matches to play before then. It’s been one of those seasons where we’ve not had any chance to get any continuity. We haven’t had the opportunity to let things flow.
“It’s been a challenge but all the stuff that’s been causing us to lose a bit of focus should be done and dusted by the summer. Certainly the stand has been a big thing for us. We’ve sunk a lot of money into it but once it starts making money for us, which will hopefully be very soon, then we’ll be in a different position mentally and we can start moving forward and invest a bit more in the playing squad.”