Hearts boss Craig Levein admits emotions of football management came flooding back

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Hearts head coach Craig Levein insists all the emotions of football management came flooding back in Saturday’s roller-coaster victory at Ross County.

Isma Goncalves and Jamie Walker scored either side of an equaliser from Davis Kellior-Dunn in Dingwall, as Levein masterminded his second victory since returning to the dugout following a five-year absence.

But the visitors did not have it all their own way in the Highlands after on loan Liverpool midfielder Connor Randall received a second yellow card from referee Willie Collum in the 65th minute.

Former Scotland manager Levein insists the weekend’s game was a stark reminder of the extreme highs and lows experienced on the touchline.

He said: “All the emotions came back on Saturday. Some of them have been a bit slow to come back but Saturday was like how I remember it.

“Part of me is like, ‘what have I done?’ The other part of me is thrilled with the way the players performed and the resilience they showed.

“Any away game in the Premiership is difficult, we played well in spells in the first half and thought we were the better side, and then got a knock with losing Connor but the way they responded was fantastic.”

Levein inherited a squad bereft of belief following Ian Cathro’s ill-fated reign but insists following up on the County win with three points over St Johnstone at Murrayfield on Saturday will do the players a world of good.

He added: “I’ve seen progress in every game but we need two, three, four victories to really get that confidence.

“In the first half we passed the ball really well. The way we moved the ball from the back, middle to up front was a joy to watch.

“Second half was pleasing, not just for the way we passed the ball but because of the resilience.”

Levein, meanwhile, admits a mini-midfield injury crisis has led to him handing game time to teenagers Harry Cochrane and Euan Henderson.

Cochrane, a 16-year-old Scottish FA Performance School graduate, made his second successive start at Victoria Park before being taken off at half-time due to injury.

Winger Henderson, who is 17-years-old, made a second substitute appearance at the break after Don Cowie was forced off with a calf complaint.

Levein added: “Circumstances dictate things most of the time.

“We had injuries to Arnaud Djoum, also to Ross Callachan; Malaury Martin pulled up on Friday in training.

“In some ways it’s not that difficult to play teenagers, Harry Cochrane was the next in line.

“He took a while to settle but after that he showed some really nice touches.

“It’s a really difficult place to play in that central midfield role when you’re a young player, that’s where all the action and physicality takes place.

“All credit to him, I thought he was really good.”

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