Hearts boss salutes bond between fans and players following Celtic win



Hearts manager Craig Levein insists solidarity between the players and supporters played a huge role in Sunday’s memorable 4-0 victory over Celtic.

The club’s fans have not had a lot to get excited about since the departure of head coach Robbie Neilson to MK Dons in November 2016 but the home crowd in the redeveloped Tynecastle Park made their voice heard in the weekend’s stirring win.

With the Gorgie club’s capacity rising to around 20,000 following the completion of the new £12 main stand, a total of 18,555 supporters watched Hearts end Celtic’s remarkable 69-game unbeaten domestic record.

Three straight league and home wins has got Hearts back on track in the Premiership and Levein, whose side head to St Johnstone this weekend, insists the bond between the fans and the team is crucial.

He said: “I was thrilled with the interaction between the players and supporters, you can hear that noise and having that new stand and the extra supporters in, it was hugely pleasing to hear that.

“I know what it is like in here when you’re playing well and the supporters get behind you. We’ve got the new stand that gets more supporters in.

“The players gave themselves, they gave each other and they gave the supporters absolutely everything they had.”

Levein, meanwhile, was thrilled with two-goal winger David Milinkovic’s contribution against Celtic, but insists the on loan Genoa playmaker needs to reproduce that type of performance on a regular basis.

Making only his fifth league start, the Serbian scored twice after the break, his second from the penalty spot, after Harry Cochrane and Kyle Lafferty had found the net.

Levein added: “David is a fantastic player. He shows in moments just how great he could be but he’s very inconsistent.

“I thought Sunday was by far his best performance.

“His work rate was exceptional and even in the last ten minutes of the match he was still bursting forward to score goals.

“He was great but I can’t single anybody out in particular because it was a real team performance.”