Craig Levein to make Hearts call on Colin Doyle in coming days

Craig Levein will decide over the coming days whether or not Colin Doyle will retain his place for Hearts’ clash with St Mirren at Tynecastle on Saturday.
Colin DoyleColin Doyle
Colin Doyle

The Irish goalkeeper made a costly error against Motherwell on Sunday when he fumbled David Turnbull’s tame free-kick into the net in stoppage time as the hosts claimed a 2-1 victory from a match which looked destined to end all square. Doyle held his hands up apologetically to the Hearts support at the end of the match and subsequently sent out a tweet on Monday which read “No excuses. I cost us a point. I’ll learn from it and move on.”

The 33-year-old has started each of Hearts’ last ten matches, keeping six clean sheets in the process, but it remains to be seen if Levein will opt to recall Zdenek Zlamal, who made an impressive start to his Hearts career before suffering a form dip towards the end of 2018.

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“I don’t need to speak to Colin, he’s an experienced goalkeeper and he knows he made a mistake,” the manager told the Evening News. “There’s no point in going over it. I haven’t made my mind up about the team for the weekend yet. The good thing is that I’ve got a choice between two experienced goalkeepers.

Zdenek ZlamalZdenek Zlamal
Zdenek Zlamal

“If he was a young boy I’d be more concerned about him having made a mistake, but I think the experienced guys tend to deal with it better. He’s not made many mistakes for us.

“Whenever people make mistakes, you hope it doesn’t cost you but unfortunately this one cost us a point.

“Other people have made mistakes that have cost us points in the season as well. It’s just something that happens within a season’s worth of football.”

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Levein also confirmed that Hearts won’t be appealing Ben Garuccio’s red card from Sunday. The Australian left-back was sent off for a challenge on Liam Grimshaw which some observers felt was fair.

Despite the fact Garuccio won the ball, Levein stuck with his post-match assertion that his player left the ground and had no real basis to contest the decision.

“I don’t think there’s any point in appealing it,” he said.

“The rules are pretty clear. He’s left the ground so I couldn’t see us winning an appeal. Ten years ago we’d have won it on the basis that he won the ball but I’ve been involved in enough of theses cases now to know when it’s worth an appeal and when it’s not. The Motherwell player took a poor touch which put the ball in an area where Ben thought he could get it, but it was just outside that line for him.

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“To get the distance that he got, he had to leave the ground and when you leave the ground you’re wide open to getting a red card. I feel for him because it was a split-second decision, and if the player had taken a better touch he wouldn’t have been enticed into the tackle.”

Garuccio’s impending suspension, allied to the injury sustained by Demetri Mitchell recently, leaves Levein without both of his specialist left-backs for the visit of St Mirren. The manager is confident he has enough options to get by, however.

“We’ve got Jamie Mulraney and Bobby Burns,” he said. “Jamie Brandon’s fit and he’s played there in the past so it’s not something I’m overly concerned about.”