Craig Levein not happy despite Hearts’ shoot-out win

Hearts manager Craig Levein questioned referee Don Robertson and criticised his players’ attitudes after watching the Gorgie outfit need penalty kicks to see off Raith Rovers and earn a Betfred Cup bonus point.

The Ladbrokes Premiership side went behind in the 51st minute through Kevin Nisbet, but Michael Smith brought the Edinburgh club level in the 78th minute with a stunning drive from distance.

Hearts thought they had won the game with a Christophe Berra header in injury-time but Robertson blew for a foul on Robbie Thomson, even though the keeper was impeded by team-mate Ross Matthews.

Hearts eventually won 4-2 on penalties, with John Souttar scoring the decisive spot kick.

Levein, whose side are on five points in Group C but could be docked points at Monday’s SPFL hearing after playing the ineligible Andy Irving in last Wednesday’s win at Cove Rangers, said: “I don’t know what Don saw for the disallowed goal. Their own defender fouled the keeper and we got penalised.

“But I was angry with our performance for parts of the first half and the start of the second.

“It irritates me I had to bring three young kids on (Aidan Keena, Callumn Morrison and Anthony McDonald) to improve our performance, which should never happen and that’s what disappoints me.

“It’s my job to tell them it’s not good enough. OK the pitch was dry but that’s not the whole excuse.

“A bonus point is better than nothing but I felt before the match if we won it would still be in our hands, depending on what happens on Monday.”

Rovers boss Barry Smith said: “They took a bit of stick last week from myself and others following the Cowdenbeath defeat but they showed what a good professional team they are when they remain focused and are positive.”

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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