Hearts defender Christophe Berra has insisted that Craig Levein’s side aren’t a team of long ball merchants – and was adamant that number back up his assertion.

Fans have criticised Levein’s style of play in recent weeks with the perception being that they just punt long balls at Uche Ikpeazu.

23rd January 2019, Tynecastle Park, Edinburgh, Scotland; Ladbrokes Premiership football, Heart of Midlothian versus Dundee; Christophe Berra of Heart of Midlothian during the warm up before the match

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Berra insists that’s not the case but admits that there are times when it can be an “asset” for the Tynecastle side.

“That’s a theory but I’m sure there was a recent stat that we were third-lowest in terms of long ball,” Berra said, as quoted by Football Scotland.

Christophe Berra of Scotland during the friendly match between Scotland and The Netherlands on November 09, 2017 at Pittodrie Stadium in Aberdeen, Scotland

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“It’s not our aim. Yes it’s an asset at times but people’s views can be skewed with a perception of our manager which is not the way. I’m sure Aberdeen play plenty of long balls up to their big man up front.

“Like most teams, first five or 10 minutes against the bigger teams at Tynecastle you want to put pressure on to them and the big man [Ikpeazu] can be hard to handle.

“There can be a perception but it’s not what we go out to do.”

After slipping below Hibs in the league there’s an understandable amount of frustration from Hearts fans just now.

12th December 2017, Tynecastle Park, Edinburgh, Scotland; Scottish Premier League football, Heart of Midlothian versus Dundee; Hearts Christophe Berra blocks Dundees Scott Allan's shot

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Despite having a Scottish Cup final to look forward to, Levein’s side has been struggling in the league.

With an Edinburgh derby this weekend, a win would go a long way to buying some breathing room for Levein.