Hearts boss Craig Levein reveals joy - and the relief - of derby win

Hearts manager Craig Levein ranks Sunday’s victory over Hibs alongside his finest Edinburgh derby wins. The Tynecastle side were 1-0 down with 20 minutes left at Easter Road but recovered to win 2-1 to ease the pressure on Levein.

Tuesday, 24th September 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 24th September 2019, 7:00 am
Hearts manager Craig Levein celebrates with his staff at Easter Road

Recent events created an intense afternoon with Hearts bottom of the league at kick-off and some fans calling for the manager’s removal. After goals from striker Uche Ikpeazu and 17-year-old defender Aaron Hickey earned a 2-1 win, Levein told the Evening News that the result was one of his most enjoyable in this fixture.

“I don’t know if it’s the best because there have been some really good ones, but it is certainly up there due to the circumstances,” he said. “There have been some really spectacular results and performances over the years, but this one was different. I don’t think I’ve ever gone into a derby as a manager bottom of the league. That brings added pressure.

“It was a relief to come out on top. If you aren’t doing well and not winning, it’s never nice. After a game, a lot of times it becomes about pointing the finger and people getting upset at each other. Sunday was different, obviously. Everybody was celebrating together and enjoying the occasion. We want to have much more of those.”

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Levein drew satisfaction from a strong defensive display which limited Hibs to very few scoring opportunities. “The frustration for me has been knowing that the team can do better than what they have been doing. I felt we were underperforming and that falls squarely upon my shoulders,” he continued.

“The frustration comes from the fact we were continually making silly mistakes and putting ourselves under pressure. The goals from Uche and Aaron were fantastic but a pleasing thing for me is that we didn’t make any mistakes on Sunday.

“There were no blatant mistakes that allowed Hibs to score goals - like we had allowed other teams to since the start of the season. That was the real pleasing aspect of the whole match. “If Hibs were going to beat us, they had to do it themselves without any help from us. That pleased me more than anything.

“I thought Christophe Berra, Michael Smith and Craig Halkett were back to their best. They gave us a solid foundation to go on and win the game because we didn’t do 
anything daft.”