Craig Levein: Longer balls did not help Hearts against Ross County

Hearts manager Craig Levein admitted the 0-0 draw with Ross County was "hard work"
Hearts manager Craig Levein admitted the 0-0 draw with Ross County was "hard work"
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Hearts manager Craig Levein admitted his team played too many long balls and lacked confidence in the 0-0 draw with Ross County.

The newly-promoted Highlanders would have won the match at Tynecastle Park had Brian Graham converted an 82nd-minute penalty.

Hearts fans were upset at full-time after an underwhelming display. Levein admitted getting the ball forward quickly became the safe option as time wore on.

"It was hard work. We didn't really get going in the game at all. I thought Ross County played very well and the longer we went without dominating, we just got more and more safe," said the manager.

"That resulted in us just continually playing the ball long. For me, that isn't going to help the situation but I understand it. If you aren't feeling at your most confident, you don't want to make a mistake so the ball goes forward quicker. That is not going to help us. It didn't help us today and it's not going to help us next week either.

"Maybe it's an easy option to go to Uche Ikpeazu. The trick is to go to Uche when he is not screened - that tends to be shorter passes. I felt today we just didn't want to make a mistake so we ended up going long. Uche was fighting for the ball. Him and Conor Washington didn't really get much good service. I think that's a consequence of boys feeling a little bit under pressure."