Hearts will 'be fine' for league: Craig Levein shrugs off East Fife's penalty win

Hearts' Michael Smith, Jamie Walker and Oliver Bozanic are left disappointed
Hearts were left disappointed in Methil

Hearts manager Craig Levein insists he is not concerned by his side's League Cup campaign and is confident "we'll be fine" for the Premiership kick-off.

Levein's side won their group to qualify for the last 16 but only after a penalty shoot-out defeat following a 1-1 draw away to League One East Fife.

Two late goals avoided a midweek home defeat by League Two's Stenhousemuir.

"The start of the league season is something different," Levein said of next week's visit to Aberdeen.

"It is not a similar kind of game to this at all. I'm confident we'll be fine with that."

Levein admitted "it was helluva frustrating again", pointing out that his side "passed up loads of glorious opportunities" that put psychological pressure on his players.

Asked if it was concerning, he told BBC Scotland: "No, not really. What concerns me is that we went through a stage last season not being able to create chances.

"That's more concerning than not being able to put the ball in the back of the net."

Levein backed his players to find their scoring rhythm.

"We know we've got players who can score," he said. "We just need to do it regularly and give ourselves the best chance possible of being in a better mental place."

Jamie Walker opened the scoring for Hearts after only 15 minutes, but Chris Duggan replied after the break and Aaron Dunsmore converted the penalty that secured East Fife a bonus point.

"I think what we saw today was the team beginning to think how the hell are we going to score when we keep passing up these opportunities," Levein said.

"I think East Fife will have gone it half time thinking they had got out of jail really. The game should have been dead and buried, but I've got to credit them - they came out in the second half, fought really hard and I think they scored with their second shot on goal."

Hearts did not gather enough points to qualify as one of the eight seeded teams ahead of Sunday's draw, but Levein was just happy to progress.

"A draw does us to win the group and we shouldn't forget that we've won the group, it's important," he added. "The fact that we lost on penalties, I'm not particularly bothered about - it didn't make any difference."

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