Craig Levein: Hearts can’t afford to suffer derby hangover

Craig Levein admits he is hurting from Hearts' loss to Hibs
Craig Levein admits he is hurting from Hearts' loss to Hibs
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Craig Levein has told his players they must learn how to deal with derby defeat and regroup ahead of Saturday’s meeting with Rangers.

The Hearts manager admitted none of his injured players will be fit in time for the match at BT Murrayfield, so those involved in the 1-0 defeat at Easter Road will be asked to perform once again.

Levein likened losing against Hibs to incurable pain. Of the 14 players he used on Tuesday, ten had not previously experienced an Edinburgh derby. He stressed the need to get over the hurt quickly.

“It’s a good thing we’ve got a game on Saturday because this feeling hurts,” he told the Evening News. “We just want to try and get on the field again and make it up to our supporters.

“We didn’t get embarrassed, as we have done previously, but we didn’t perform well enough to even start feeling that we were making progress. I said to the players that this will go on for a wee while.

“This is pain that hangs around for a bit. There aren’t any tablets you can take to numb the pain, you just have to deal with it. The boys are hurting as well as me.

“They put a lot of effort in. I’ve no question about that but the most effort they put in was working back and defending.”

Midfielders Don Cowie and Arnaud Djoum were missed against Hibs but Levein reported that they won’t be fit to face Rangers due to ongoing hamstring and knee injuries respectively.

Defender Aaron Hughes is still out with a calf problem, while full-back Ashley Smith-Brown has a pelvic complaint. “Don was feeling a bit better but I don’t think he’ll make Saturday. The others won’t make it,” confirmed Levein.