SEETHING Hearts manager Craig Levein has vowed to make wholesale changes following the international break after slamming his underperforming stars for a lack of character.
Levein’s patience finally snapped as he accused his players of failing to ‘bust a gut’ in Saturday’s 1-0 defeat against Kilmarnock and questioned their ability to handle the pressure of performing at Tynecastle.
A first-half strike by Chris Burke was enough to condemn the Jambos to defeat and send them to ninth spot in the Premiership – while leaving Levein to rue a lack of ‘balls’ in his dressing room.
The former Scotland boss fumed: “The feeling is anger for me. I look at the stats and we’ve probably got more possession, chances and all that – but that’s not what it’s about. It’s about having the balls to dig deep when we need it.
“Everybody was waiting on somebody else being the one who changed the game. Did they try? Arguably. Did they try hard enough? Absolutely not.
“There’s a difference between trying and absolutely busting a gut and our supporters expect them to absolutely burst a gut.
“When it’s difficult and the supporters are on your back, you need a pair of balls. Too many of the players felt sorry for themselves. You could tell with their body language and that’s the bit that makes me angry.”
Hearts’ remarkable injury list is expected to ease after the international break, with Steven Naismith, Peter Haring, Uche Ikpeazu and Jamie Walker among those who are due back either immediately or soon after the hiatus.
Levein continued: “We’ve got some light at the end of the tunnel with players coming back from injuries.
“My point to the players today was: don’t come knocking on my door if you’re not selected in the upcoming matches.”