Craig Levein doesn’t regret Hearts tactics in Celtic loss

Craig Levein's side were beaten 4-1 at Celtic Park. Picture: SNS
Craig Levein's side were beaten 4-1 at Celtic Park. Picture: SNS
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Hearts boss Craig Levein insists he was heartened by his side’s second half performance in their 3-1 defeat to Celtic on Tuesday evening.

The away side quickly found themselves in a hole when Odsonne Edouard put the hosts in front within three minutes, and things only got worse from there for the men in maroon.

Dedryck Boyata added a second and when Moussa Dembele made it 3-0 on 35 minutes, it really seemed like the hosts were going to run up a cricket score.

However, Hearts were able to ride their luck a little in the second half and made the scoreline much more respectable when Kyle Lafferty fired a low shot home from outside the area with 23 minutes remaining.

Hearts had gone to Parkhead looking to play in the same manner they had in the previous encounter, where the Gorgie Road side ended Celtic’s unbeaten domestic run in sensational style, winning 4-0, though it perhaps contributed to their poor first-half showing.

Levein, though, saw enough from his side after the break to encourage him to use the high-press style again when his team next visit the East End of Glasgow.

He said: “We had a game plan to go after them and press them like we did at Tynecastle, and then we lose the goal within five minutes.

“Celtic had opportunities in the first half but they were because of the way we played. We played our players high and went man for man at times. You’re hoping that they don’t score and they seemed to score with every chance in that first half.

I said after we won the last game at Tynecastle, things have to go our way. We need goals at the right time. As much as goals at the right time in the last match helped our confidence, this time they dented our confidence.

“Half time was interesting. The question was whether we went with damage limitation or tried to do the same thing. We had a go in the second half again as well.

“I’ve been here as a player myself, been 2-0 down and gone on to lose by six. What was good for me was that we did well in the second half. We got a goal and didn’t lose anymore. It gives me some heart that we can come back here and do a similar thing next time we’re here.”