Under-fire Hearts manager Craig Levein admits his players have been guilty of producing some “Jekyll and Hyde” performances.
Levein has to make sure his players regroup to face Rangers in Sunday’s League Cup semi-final following a 1-0 defeat at St Johnstone.
Losing in Perth, where the capital club have not won for nine years, triggered a furious reaction from Jambos fans at full-time.
Angry supporters chanted, ‘Craig Levein, we want you to go’ following skipper Christophe Berra’s unfortunate 59th-minute own goal, and repeated their calls as Hearts slumped to joint bottom.
“I understand the frustration of the supporters. Nobody wants to win games more than I do,” Levein said. “Nobody has more of a vested interest in winning than I do.
“I have no qualms in them voicing their frustration. My job is not to get overly concerned about that. My job is to win football matches.
“What doesn’t help is if the players go into their shells. You need your big players to stand up and be counted and get back into the game or score a winner.
“Yesterday the league table did not look great and it’s not going to look great for the next few weeks even if we win matches. I’m not going to focus on that. I want us to try and win football matches and make the fans happy by firing on all cylinders.”
Levein insists Hearts will be ready for Sunday’s trip to Hampden.
“It’s a semi-final,” he said. “I’d be surprised if anyone needed lifting. We have been very Jekyll and Hyde this season and I can’t put my finger on it.”
Saints boss Tommy Wright savoured back-to-back wins which lifted his side from the bottom rung to eighth in the table.
“We talked before the game with the boys about possibly getting up to eighth. It’s a great win, and that’s two on the bounce now but we will keep our feet on the ground,” he said.
“We’ve now got a free weekend coming up and then we will prepare for facing Hibs.
“I felt it was a well-deserved win. I don’t think Zander Clark had a save to make all night.
“The clean sheet was very important, especially since we have not been keeping them.”