Hearts got out of jail at ‘goal’ admits manager Craig Levein

Craig Levein issues instructions from the touchline
Craig Levein issues instructions from the touchline
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Craig Levein admitted Hearts got “out of jail” last night when Hibs were denied a clear goal during the Edinburgh derby at Tynecastle Park.

The match finished goalless, meaning Oli Shaw’s seventh-minute strike – which hit the underside of the crossbar and crossed the goal line but wasn’t given – became a major talking point.

Hearts manager Levein was honest enough to concede his team were fortunate but added that he felt they deserved some luck. They also appealed for two penalties during the second half, although Levein stated he could not see clearly whether any genuine infringement took place.

Asked about Shaw’s early “goal”, Levein revealed the Hearts goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin told him the ball had crossed the line.

“We did get out of jail. I hear that shot was in, but we need something like that. We haven’t had an awful lot of joy with those kind of decisions.

“I think it was maybe a centimetre over the line,” he smiled. “I haven’t seen it but Jon said to me that he thought it was in. We’ve had a lot of things go against us in recent times so we’ll take that one.

“There were a couple of handballs in the second half as well. Whether they were legitimate penalty claims for us or not, I’m not sure, but I’ll have a look at them. I was too far away to say if the hand was away from the body or if it was intentional or anything like that. Then we missed a sitter in the second half which might have won the game for us. I think one goal would have won it because it was competitive, shall we say.

“Both teams set out to be competitive and to fight and that filled their heads. They forgot about playing football. We were better in the second half and still defended well, but we can do better than that.

“We competed well, I don’t think Jon had much to do. That’s five clean sheets in a row, which we haven’t managed in a long time, so there are a lot of positives to take.

“It was a right scrap. I thought the referee handled the game well. It could have deteriorated but he kept a grip of it.”

Hearts are now unbeaten in their last eight matches, whilst Hibs can lay claim to a nine-game run without defeat against their Edinburgh rivals. Levein was pleased his team put up a better fight following their meek surrender at Easter Road two months ago.

“You saw the game down at Easter Road. We didn’t compete. Last night, we competed,” he said. “We didn’t play well so that’s the challenge now – to play better. If we do that, we’ll win.”

“That’s eight in a row without defeat. Another 62 and we’ll beat Celtic’s record,” joked Levein.