Auchinleck Talbot manager Tommy Sloan admits he fears his side impressed Hearts counterpart Craig Levein too much during his spying mission.

Levein watched the junior outfit dismantle ten-man Petershill 7-0 in last weekend’s West Region Premiership clash ahead of the Gorgie outfit preparing to host Auchinleck in Sunday’s last-16 William Hill Scottish Cup contest.

The former Scotland boss is leaving nothing to chance with Talbot having already created a shock by eliminating Championship title challengers Ayr United in the last round.

Club stalwart Sloan was in charge of the team’s last visit to Gorgie in the agonising 1-0 cup defeat in 2012 in a game that saw Auchinleck defender Gordon Pope have a 95th-minute strike wrongly disallowed for offside.

And Sloan reckons there is little chance of his part-timers catching the Premiership side on the hop.

Sloan said: “Fair play to Craig for coming down and taking in our game last weekend. He is a top manager and he’s obviously just being thorough and leaving nothing to chance.

“I would imagine most of the top managers would do that, but fair play to him for giving us a bit of respect there.

“I hope we didn’t impress him too much to be honest, I really do.

“We got a really positive result on Saturday but there was a sending off in the first half for the other side – they were a young side and maybe didn't handle it as well.

“I don’t think he’ll be going away too worried about us, he’ll be thinking that if his Hearts side can play the way they can they’ll get through.”

Pope and goalkeeper Andy Leishman are among the survivors from seven years ago when a strike from Gordon Smith in the 84th minute earned the hosts a narrow victory.

However, Sloan believes his side deserved to take the tie to a replay after being left devastated by the linesman’s offside flag.

Sloan added: “We have to try and take every positive we can, we’ve gone there and put up a decent show before.

“Our goalkeeper had a good game that day and I remember it well, he saved a penalty [from Fraser Mullen].

“We’ve been there before and run them close, we did score a good goal but these things happen.

“There are only two or three players still in the squad from that time but you always remember the goal that wasn’t given, that was the thing.

“I’m realistic enough to know that we’ll need to defend well in numbers at times for long periods with the squad Hearts have.”

Sloan, meanwhile, is still to decide whether the blueprint he used at Tynecastle in their first visit could work on Sunday.

He added: “I have to think which way I’m going to set the team out, normally we’d play 4-4-2 but are we good enough to go do that at a top Premiership side?

“That’s a decision I have to make. I was proud of the effort that day and that’s all you can ask for.

“We reacted in a real positive manner against Ayr United and we’ll take all the positives out of that.

“We did that well that day and limited them to very few chances.

“We’ve got to be positive every time we can, we’re not just here to be lambs to the slaughter.

“You need to relax and play when you do get the ball and you need to make sure we do well.”