So often there’s a media furore surrounding Craig Levein. A sometimes controversial figure, a ‘patter merchant’ if you will, the Hearts manager is quite often in the headlines. But what do his critics have to say after Levein has guided Hearts to six points from a potential six at Rugby Park this season?
Goals from the increasingly impressive Sean Clare, his first in the league, and Steven Naismith, from a well worked free kick, had the men in maroon two to the good. Despite conceding a penalty late in the first half, converted by Jordan Jones, a routine performance turned into a tricky backs-to-the-wall shutout.
Killie have lost just three league games at home this season, highlighting how big an achievement it is for Hearts to have taken maximum league points in East Ayrshire. Aberdeen are the only other winners at Rugby Park in the league this season, courtesy of a late Lewis Ferguson winner.
This was the Jambos’ fifth victory in six matches. They’ve also kept four clean sheets in that time. It’s also not as though they’ve just played rollovers. Granted, they coasted past a struggling Hamilton Accies but this came before a tricky derby day victory at Easter Road.
They battled to beat a tough Livingston team, who they also play in the league at Tynecastle next, to progress in the Scottish Cup. Despite losing to Dundee at home, they responded with a comfortable victory over St Johnstone. And now having beaten Steve Clarke‘s side, they’ve responded well to that Dundee defeat with two victories against sides vying for Europe.
In August, Levein’s team nicked all three points late on thanks to an Uche Ikpeazu header. With him to come back into the equation, who’s to say that Hearts can’t climb back up that table and attempt to recreate that superb start to the season.