Craig Levein expects significant improvement from Hearts in today’s Scottish Cup rematch with St Johnstone after they rode their luck in defeating the Perth side in last weekend’s Premiership fixture.
The two teams reconvene in Gorgie for a fifth-round tie just seven days after David Milinkovic’s goal eked out a 1-0 victory for the hosts which was widely deemed fortunate, with Saints enjoying the lion’s share of chances and generally looking the more accomplished side.
Levein is buoyed by a belief that Hearts are capable of playing far better, and is hopeful that they will do so after being given a stern test by Tommy Wright’s team in their previous meeting.
“I’m pleased we had a game against them last week where we didn’t play particularly well against them and won because that combination makes me feel good,” Levein told the Evening News. “Playing well and winning is the only thing that’s better. I hate playing well and losing. I’m sure we will play better this weekend than last weekend.”
Levein has a full squad to select from with the exception of injured teenagers Harry Cochrane and Rory Currie. However, the manager is wary of utilising certain players due to their lack of match fitness. There are likely to be some tweaks to the starting line-up from last weekend’s fixture. “There are one or two things I’ll need to look at,” said Levein, with regard to team selection. “I’ve got a lot of players available but they’re not all 100 per cent fit. Some have just signed and are not up to speed and others are coming back from injury and are not at their peak. I need to look at all these things and work out what I think the best approach is.”