Craig Levein insists Hearts should approach Saturday’s Premiership match with Hamilton feeling confident after a rousing performance against Ross County. Despite the 0-0 scoreline, the Tynecastle side dominated the 90 minutes last weekend with one of their finest displays this season.
Manager Levein is hoping his players take the positives into this week’s match as they try to end a five-game winless run. Results have been difficult to come by for the Edinburgh club, who have won just two of their last nine fixtures since beating Hamilton at the SuperSeal Stadium in September.
The return to Tynecastle Park has brought draws against Partick Thistle and then County, but with a marked improvement in performance between the two games. Levein today urged his players to keep believing that their methods will bear fruit.
“I said to the players after the Ross County game that sometimes in football things are hard. You just need to keep plugging away and keep doing what you believe is right. That’s what we’re trying to do,” he told the Evening News. “We did a lot of that on Saturday, we just couldn’t put the ball in the net unfortunately. We had ten shots on target, which is a decent amount in any match. There were some really good chances but that’s done now. We can take confidence from the performance because that’s how we want the team to play. I think our supporters recognised that.”
Training sessions at Riccarton have been encouraging so far this week, although Levein won’t read too much into them. “You can say the players trained well but it doesn’t mean anything come the weekend. I just feel in general things are getting a bit better. We obviously improved last Saturday from the previous week against Partick, which was the first game back at Tynecastle.
“We’re now able to play players in the positions they feel comfortable in. That has made a difference and that’s what gives me a degree of comfort.”
Striker Cole Stockton, who played his first full 90 minutes for Hearts against County, could retain a starting place against Hamilton.
“We played with more pace and more aggression. I think Cole helped because we knew where he would be,” said Levein.
“Recently our strikers have been moving too much. I thought he brought another dimension for us and gave our midfield players opportunities to run off him going forward.
“I’ve been pleased with Cole, I was pleased with Arnaud Djoum, who looked back to his best, and Jamie Walker as well. The midfield looked good with young Harry Cochrane doing well again.”