Craig Levein rued Hearts’ failure to build on a promising start after they were pegged back by relegation-threatened Dundee in yesterday’s 1-1 draw at Dens Park.
The Tynecastle side went ahead after just two minutes through an excellent team goal which was finished off by Ross Callachan, but were unable to seize full control thereafter. They felt they should have had a penalty midway through the first half when Kyle Lafferty went down in the box under a challenge from Steven Caulker, but the Northern Irishman was controversially booked for diving. Lafferty then spurned a good chance to double Hearts’ lead in the 28th minute. Dundee went straight up the park and equalised through Sofien Moussa and Hearts never really looked like regaining the initiative. The visitors were booed off by their 700 underwhelmed travelling supporters.
“I thought the game went end to end,” said the Hearts manager. “Neither side had any period of control for any lengthy period of time. We started the game better than Dundee but they came back into it.
“The biggest moment for me was at 1-0 up, Kyle had a fantastic chance, but the keeper made a great save then Dundee went up the park and got the goal just after it, so the frustration was that we could have gone 2-0 up and then it would have been much more difficult for Dundee to come back. This is not the easiest of places to win and I didn’t think we did enough to win the match, but you can say the same for Dundee.”
Asked whether Hearts should have had a penalty while leading 1-0, Levein said: “I haven’t seen it myself but you can tell when a player was as adamant as Kyle was that he was fouled, then there is probably a case for it.”
The draw all but assured Hearts of a place in the top six. They are six points – and eight goals – clear of a Motherwell side who have two games to play, at home to Aberdeen and away to St Johnstone, before the split. Hearts’ only remaining pre-split fixture is against the Dons at Tynecastle on Saturday. “It’s not quite secure yet,” said Levein. “I had hoped we’d get three points and then that would be it finally put to bed. We will just have to do what we’ve got to do against Aberdeen.”