Craig Levein admits Hearts cannot allow negative thoughts to impact their Scottish Cup semi-final preparations despite the derby defeat by Hibs. Although frustrated by Saturday’s 2-1 loss, the Tynecastle Park manager insisted the result must be immediately consigned to history to focus on Inverness Caledonian Thistle this weekend.
Levein felt Hearts played well against Hibs and was irked that their 1-0 lead, secured through Peter Haring’s 25th-minute header, was overhauled via Daryl Horgan’s double. Nonetheless, he told the Evening News that nobody at Riccarton will be allowed to dwell on the disappointment.
“Playing well and losing is the thing I hate the most,” said Levein. “If we play poorly and lose, you have to take that on the chin. Playing well and losing is a really difficult one to take.
“It’s done now. If we didn’t have the semi-final next week then it’s a different conversation [with the players]. This game is done, finished. The important thing now is that we don’t allow any negativity to dwell in our heads.
“We will take the good things out of Saturday’s game and use them as motivation for this coming Saturday when we go to Hampden. The positives we had were plenty effort, lots of good passages of play, good performances and chances created.
“We also defended well apart from the two goals. The performance is the thing we will concentrate on and try to replicate it against Inverness.”
Defender Michael Smith was substituted after an hour of his first Hearts appearance in two months following a torn thigh muscle. Levein explained the need to protect the 30-year-old.
“I was a bit anxious about how long he would last. The last thing you want with a muscle injury is for it to recur. It was a dilemma for me taking him off because he was doing really well.
“I’d like to have him for the games we’ve got left and the medical advice was that an hour was about enough for him. He will get another week’s training this week and he’s a fit boy so I’m sure he will be okay for 90 minutes this weekend.”