Uche Ikpeazu leaps to the defence of Hearts boss Craig Levein

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UCHE IKPEAZU has launched an impassioned defence of Hearts boss Craig Levein in the aftermath of their Edinburgh derby defeat against Hibernian.

A vocal portion of Jambos supporters made their feelings plain at full-time on Saturday after seeing their favourites slip to a first defeat against the Hibees at Tynecastle since May 2013.

Some even went as far as calling for the experienced coach to walk away from the dugout having led the men in maroon to just two Premiership wins in their last nine outings.

However, Ikpeazu is adamant Hearts will underline their resilience in the coming weeks and insisted the club can still enjoy a memorable finale to the campaign.

“They [the fans] should be angry,” said the Hearts front-man. “We lost the game. They’re not going to be happy. I don’t blame them – but we will bounce back.

“You can’t win every game. We will have good times and we will have bad times. That’s football.

Craig Levein has done a great job for this club compared to last season. We are in the [Scottish Cup] semi-finals and we are still trying to get to the top four, so I don’t see why anybody should get on to him.

“He’s a good manager and a good person. We’re all right behind him. I believe we can still achieve something this season, it’s just about having a positive mindset.

“There is no pressure. We’ve just got to do what we need to do.”

Scottish Cup

That next objective is clear: secure a place in the Scottish Cup final by defeating Inverness next Saturday.

And Ikpeazu reckons the Jambos will have the quality to see off their Championship rivals at Hampden, provided they match their level of performance from the derby defeat.

“We’re going to be positive,” he continued. “We’re going to go out there and give a good performance. That’s who we are. We’re a team that has bounced back from defeats before.

“If we play how we played, we will be fine.”

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