HEARTS manager Craig Levein took no prisoners in tearing into his team following their 1-0 home defeat to Kilmarnock. Hearts were disappointing, to say the least, as they fell to their fifth league defeat of the season and while much of the abuse from the stands was directed at Levein, the manager was quick to point out the failings he saw throughout his squad at Tynecastle.

“We just didn’t do enough to win,” he said, while admitting his primary emotion at full time was anger.

“I look at the stats and we’ve probably got more possession, chances and all that but for me that’s not what it’s about. It’s about having the balls to dig deep when we need it.

“Everybody was waiting on somebody else being the one who changed the game.

“Did they try? Arguably. Did they try hard enough? Absolutely not.

“When it’s difficult and when it’s hard and the supporters are on your back, you need a pair of balls. Too many of the players felt a little bit sorry for themselves.

“You could tell with their body language and that’s the bit that makes me angry.”

Hearts, who are now just two points off the bottom of the table, are currently beset by injuries, with no fewer than nine players unavailable for selection. And the exclusion of their vital frontman Uche Ikpeazu due to a hamstring tweak in the days leading up to this fixture was the last thing Levein needed.

However, despite the decimated squad, Levein’s choice to set up his team with no recognised strikers was not the news the home fans wanted.

The Hearts manager’s injury problem have afforded a number of players chances but if they are dropped from the team as players return from injury, Levein will not be interested in getting into a dialogue with them about his upcoming team selections.

“We’ve got some light at the end of the tunnel with getting players back from injuries and my point to the players today was ‘don’t come knocking on my door if you’re not selected in the upcoming matches,” he said.

“Because there’s been plenty opportunities handed out. That wasn’t acceptable today. Whatever the stats say, it’s still not what I want us to do at home.

“If they want to stay in the team they need to have enough to win the game. Lots of people have had opportunities because of injuries and if they want to stay in the team, they have to do better than they did.”

The first half was less than thrilling but Kilmarnock were the more threatening of the two sides and with the away side keeping things tight at the back, they ensured Hearts had no clear chances on goa in the first 45 minutes. It appeared to all that the game would reach half time goalless until Kilmarnock took the lead through Chris Burke as he headed home a excellent cross by Niko Hamalainen.

Hearts improved in the second half and Levein expressed his frustration at Steven MacLean’s goal being disallowed near the final whistle but had his team taken something from the game it would, he admits, have papered over the cracks that see his team linger at the lower echelons of the table.

“The referee indicated that Clevid (Dikamona) had elbowed but when I watched it, it’s absolutely not the case – it was a perfectly good goal. But if we’d got a goal back it might have been masking or hiding the things that are really important.”

The Edinburgh side have something of an epidemic of hamstring injuries but Levein is not, he said, overly worried about this. when he has bigger problems to confront.

“Michael (Smith) has a history of hamstring problems and Clevid (Dikamona) is another one who didn’t play most of last season. He’s played three games in a week and his hamstring is tight – it happens. Washington was slightly different – that was a stretch in the penalty box and was a complete tear so that’s different. Uche has a hamstring too but I know I’ll get him back the next game.

“Managing players while they’re training and playing games is different but these things happen. It is what it is. I can sit here and talk about it but what’s the point?

Kilmarnock, on the other hand, are on the rise. Their three points saw them break into the top six for just the second time this season and they continue their excellent defensive form which has seen them keep clean sheets in every league match other than against Celtic this season.

And manager Angelo Alessio admits that he could not be more pleased with his team’s current form.

“I am happy because I felt we deserved this result and it is not easy to win at this stadium,” he said.

“ I think we played well, especially in the first half.

“In the second half we suffered but it is normal because Hearts pressed higher up the park and created one of two chances with Dikamona having a chance to score.

“What I want to point out is the good spirit my team had today. We were compact and when that is the case there is not a risk.

“If we can stay in the top six I will be happy, the fans will be happy and my staff will be happy. That’s what we work for. It’s important to have no limits. We are all pushing for the highest position. I push, my staff push, the players push for this.”