Return of Uche Ikpeazu provides cheer for Craig Levein on an otherwise underwhelming night for Hearts


BY ALAN TEMPLE, Tynecastle Park – @CCP_Sport

CRAIG LEVEIN insists the return of Uche Ikpeazu was the silver lining from an otherwise underwhelming 0-0 draw against Livingston. 

The Hearts manager had no complaints with his side’s work ethic against the Lions but readily admits that they lacked the quality to turn one point into three. 

However, the return of Ikpeazu as a 65th-minute substitute briefly roused the Tynecastle faithful, with the powerhouse striker returning to action following four months on the sidelines due to a foot injury. 

Indeed, the Englishman came close to capping his comeback with a late goal, with his close-range header saved by Liam Kelly. 

Levein said: “It was brilliant to see him back. I thought we were better when he came on. We had a way of playing earlier in the season where everybody knew what we were doing.

“We lost that a little bit and with Uche coming back into the team, I could see instantly that we had a better shape and a better idea of what we were doing in the final third. He’ll get some game-time on Sunday [against Auchinleck Talbot] and I’m just really pleased to see him back.

“He has come back in good condition. I love his enthusiasm and his energy – he doesn’t hold back.”

He will help the team, without a shadow of a doubt, in the weeks and months ahead.”

Hearts saw an early Steven Naismith goal disallowed for offside but, beyond that, struggled to carve Livi open. 

Levein added: “I can’t complain about the work-rate and the effort of the team, I thought there was loads of that. I thought we lacked a bit of quality in the last third; something different to win us the match.”