Uche Ikpeazu backs Hearts boss Craig Levein to win over fans

Uche Ikpeazu has backed Craig Levein after the Hearts manager was the target of supporter fury in the wake of Sunday’s 2-1 loss to Hibs in the Edinburgh derby.

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Angry fans could be heard shouting at the home dugout on BBC Scotland’s radio broadcast of the match as Hearts slipped into sixth place in the Ladbrokes Premiership table.

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The Jambos finished in the same position last season and without talismanic attacker Steven Naismith it’s looking increasingly difficult for them to reach their pre-season objection of finishing in the top four.

A dejected Uche Ikpeazu walks off the pitch at full-time in Saturday's Edinburgh derby. Picture: SNS

They do, however, have a great chance of reaching the Scottish Cup final with a semi-final showdown against Championship side Inverness Caledonian Thistle coming this weekend - a side Hearts defeated 5-0 in the Betfred Cup earlier in the campaign.

Ikpeazu insists that their cup exploits show progress as he backed his manager to end the season on a high note.

He said: “The fans should be angry because we lost a derby game. They’re not going to be happy about it. I don’t blame them for their reaction but we’ll bounce back.

“Craig Levein has done a great job for this club, especially compared to last season. We’re in the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup and still trying to get into the top four of the Premiership. So I don’t see why anybody should be getting on to him.

“He’s a good manager and a good person. We’re all right behind him and I believe we can still achieve something this season. It’s just about having a positive mindset now.

“We can’t win every game and obviously it’s frustrating right now. But in football you’re going to have bad times as well as good.

“We’ve got to produce a performance next week against Inverness and if we play how we did on Saturday we’ll be fine.”