CRAIG LEVEIN has urged Hearts not to allow their weekend disappointment ‘linger’ as they bid to recover by booking their place in the Betfred Cup semi-finals.
The Gorgie outfit were left deeply frustrated on Saturday after being held to a goalless draw at home to Livingston.
They remain five points clear at the top of the Premiership, but the failure to record a sixth consecutive victory left Levein lamenting a missed opportunity as some boos rang out at full-time.
Steven Naismith saw his first-half penalty saved by Liam Kelly, whilst Jimmy Dunne and Steven MacLean hit the goal-frame, but Livingston held on to stay undefeated since the opening day of the campaign against Celtic.
However, Levein insists the Jambos are relishing the opportunity to make amends quickly, with a trip to Hampden at stake against Motherwell in Wednesday’s quarter-final.
He said: “I think [the fans] recognised a missed opportunity, and that’s what it was.
“There are times when you can play like that and still win, and that’s what we should have done.
“We didn’t, of course, and that’s a bitter pill to swallow.
“But we’ve got a game on Wednesday that we can focus on and try to get [Saturday] out of our heads.
“As much as there is disappointment, we can’t allow that to linger too much.”
As well as the cup encounter with Motherwell, Hearts will be back at Tynecastle again on Saturday to take on St Johnstone.
And Levein is hopeful his players can take out their frustrations on this week’s opposition by returning to top form.
He added: “We got ourselves in a good position and I would call Saturday dropped points, of course.
“We were at home and I would expect us to win every match at home.
“So, it’s frustrating and disappointing.
“We obviously missed a penalty and we hit the woodwork two or three times and, on another day, those go in and we say ‘well, we didn’t play particularly well but we got away with it’.
“But unfortunately we didn’t get away with it.”
Meanwhile, Hearts are sweating over the fitness of talismanic striker Uche Ikpeazu for the visit of Motherwell.
The 23-year-old sat out the Livingston stalemate because of a foot injury and will have his recovery assessed ahead of the meeting with Motherwell.
Levein said: “We’re hoping he’ll be alright for Wednesday.”