Uche Ikpeazu implores Hearts team-mates to do more for Craig Levein after derby comeback win
Uche Ikpeazu today implored Hearts players to do more for manager Craig Levein after an inspiring Edinburgh derby win at Easter Road.
Ikpeazu scored the equaliser before 17-year-old Aaron Hickey’s sensational 84th-minute winner earned under-pressure Hearts three vital points.
The Englishman conceded he and his team-mates have underperformed so far this season, resulting in criticism and demonstrations against Levein.
This win moved the visitors up from bottom to eighth in the Premiership, but Ikpeazu insisted it must be merely the start.
“I’ll be absolutely transparent. As a team, we haven’t done well enough for the gaffer,” said Ikpeazu. “If we keep on making mistakes, it’s not the manager’s fault. We have made mistakes and we’ve gone over that. If we hadn’t made as many mistakes then we would be further up the league.
“I like the gaffer but we haven’t done well enough for him and he deserves better. He is a good guy. It makes me feel sad and it’s a results business so he is going to get the stick. We have to take responsibility. I have to take responsibility because I haven’t started well. This is a massive win.”
Having scored in April’s 1-1 draw away to Hibs, Ikpeazu savoured his goal even more this time. “It’s sweeter scoring this time because we won the game,” he said.
“Winning against Hibs is extra special and that’s all we wanted. Of course we deserved it. We have lost games this season when we didn’t deserve to but hopefully we can kick on because we have a quality team.”
The giant forward is now eager to play more regularly having had to play second fiddle to Conor Washington for much of the campaign so far.
“I haven’t played much football in the last month,” he added. “I believe in myself and that I should be playing every game. I know I will prove myself. I’m just glad the gaffer has given me the opportunity because I know I can score goals. I’m just part of the team and this was a team performance.”
Asked about his impromptu stepovers before passing to Hickey for the winner, Ikpeazu replied: “When you’re feeling confident, sometimes it’s good to bring some flair. It’s an assist but it’s a great goal by Hickey.”