Levein: Hearts-minded players improve derby prospects

first_img“The last few derbies haven’t been particularly good,” he said. “It’s been painful to watch at times.“You could probably count on one hand the number of really good games there have been but that’s not what it’s about. It’s about winning.“Our thoughts are about trying to win this fixture. It might mean there’s a lot of challenges to be won and a lot of second balls to be won but if we’re going to win the match we’ll need to do that.”He added: “I think everybody knows how important the game is. I can’t guarantee we’ll win the match, of course, but what’s really important is that we leave everything out there tomorrow and if that’s good enough to win the game then so be it.”With Tynecastle undergoing major renovation, Hearts have not enjoyed home comforts for quite some time and when asked if that could actually play in his favour, Levein said it could have made his players a little stronger.“That’s a fair point,” he said. “I think the introduction of one or two bigger characters in the team has toughened the team up but the fact that we have had to go away from home continually and dig out results is something that arguably has made us a little more resilient.”Recent weeks have seen younger players in the side, including 16-year old Harry Cochrane and 19-year old Jamie Brandon. Levein conceded he would have to think seriously about whether or not exposing them to a tense derby would be best for the team and their development.“That’s what’s going through my head, whether I start with some of these boys or they are on the bench,” he said. “I have to make that decision before 7.45pm tomorrow.” He says he does not need to impress that on his players with a number of individuals in the squad ready to talk others through the experience.“The message is already across,” he said. “We also have the benefit of having some Hearts-minded people in the team, which I think helps as well.“They will be able to let the rest of the players know just how important this is.”Levein said recent games between the sides had not really been occasions to remember but he would not care about stylish play as long as he got three points. Craig Levein believes the introduction of “Hearts-minded” players who understand the rivalry can help give them the edge against Hibs.The sides meet in the first Edinburgh derby of the season with Hearts boss Levein having begun the work of turning the team around following the departure of Ian Cathro. The 53-year old has fond memories of the derby as a Hearts player and from his first spell as manager.With just six defeats in 52 matches against Hibs, Levein knows what is needed to come out on top in a fiercely-contested fixture.last_img read more