‘How the hell have we got beat here?’ - Craig Levein gutted by manner of Hearts’ loss to Motherwell

Craig Levein admitted Hearts’ late defeat to Motherwell hurt more because it was so unexpected.

Craig Levein admitted the manner of the defeat was hard to take. Picture: Getty Images
Craig Levein admitted the manner of the defeat was hard to take. Picture: Getty Images

The visitors looked to have earned a point from a difficult trip but were undone by a grave goalkeeping error from Colin Doyle, who completely misjudged 19 year-old David Turnbull’s free-kick in stoppage time. The free-kick itself had been recklessly conceded by substitute Ben Garuccio, who was red-carded for the wild tackle on Liam Grimshaw.

“You have gone from feeling positive and about being in control in the match, then two mistakes have cost us the point,” said Levein. “I’m now thinking ‘how the hell have we got beat here?’”

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Another teenager Jake Hastie had put Motherwell ahead after 12 minutes but Steven Naismith equalised eight minutes before half-time with his 14th goal of the season. Both sides were pressing for a winner towards the end.

“When players make mistakes you just hope they don’t result in you losing points,” said Levein. “Unfortunately we did at a stage when we were doing well.

“Colin has been doing okay. I don’t have any complaints. We just have to pick ourselves up and go again next week.”

Hearts host St Mirren on Saturday and Garuccio looks certain to be suspended with Levein showing no appetite to appeal the Australian’s red card.

“25, 30 years ago you can get away with that no bother,” he said. “All the players know if you leave the ground to tackle, which Ben did even though he won the ball and the player wasn’t injured, you run the risk.

“I looked at it and I’m not criticising the referee at all because his feet did leave the ground. Everyone knows that it not acceptable.”

Levein said Doyle had already made his apologies. “He is disappointed as we all are. He held his hands up.

“He’s made a mistake in a game in which we were in good control of. My thoughts and substitutions were about winning the game.”

Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson is not worried about a sudden increase in Hastie’s wage demands because the club have no more money to offer him in any case.

The 19-year-old, who has scored five goals in his last six matches, is in the midst of new contract talks but his value has surely soared. This isn’s troubling Robinson, who is still confident Hastie will sign a new contract for the benefit of his career.

“We haven’t got any more money to offer Jake!” said the manager. “It is as simple as that and we will offer him what we can. I will tell every parent that you have to play football and he has a very good coaching staff who will try and develop him and this is the best place for him to develop. I will stand in front of any parent now and tell them that.

“A few hundred pounds now will not make a big difference to his life. He could be a very good player if he keeps grounded and improving.

“Jake has been to Airdrie and Alloa on loan and he went out a boy and came back a man. Our two goalscorers David and Jake have been terrific for us and long may that continue. We still have to be very careful with them but why take people out when they are playing so well.”

Motherwell are now aiming for a seventh league win in a row against Celtic at Parkhead this weekend. They have won as many points from their last six league games as they earned in their first twenty.

“When we lost to Ross County (in the Scottish Cup) the place was all doom and gloom but we had the support of everybody around the place and that is being rewarded,” said Robinson. “We can now go into games against Celtic and Kilmarnock with no fear.”