Heart of Midlothian 4-0 Celtic: Craig Levein says players 'ran themselves into ground'

Proud Hearts boss Craig Levein hailed his players for "running themselves into the ground" after ending Celtic's 69-match unbeaten domestic run.

Hearts had not scored three goals in a league match since March but Harry Cochrane and Kyle Lafferty put them 2-0 up and Manuel Milinkovic added a brace.

"They played honestly today," Levein, who complimented Celtic on their "quite remarkable" run, told BBC Scotland.

"They did everything they could to run the miles needed to shut Celtic down."

Hearts' thumping victory, a third in a row, extended their own unbeaten run to six matches since returning to the redeveloped Tynecastle last month.

"Even when Celtic did get through us, we ran back and put pressure on the ball and managed to unsettle Celtic as a team," noted Levein.

"That was evident because they had opportunities to score and didn't quite have the composure they normally have.

"All credit to the players. They just ran themselves into the ground. There were moments where I thought Celtic were starting to get a foothold, where they would get a chance or score, and the energy was being depleted.

"But those two moments in the second half when we got a couple more goals gave us a boost and we managed to find extra reserves from somewhere.

"The players gave themselves, each other and the supporters absolutely everything they had. I was thrilled with the interaction between the players and supporters. You could hear the noise with the new stand and the extra supporters, and it was hugely pleasing to hear that."

Levein, whose side are now just three points behind city rivals Hibernian, who they host on 27 December, hopes Hearts' historic win will build confidence among his squad.

"I said three weeks ago, before we had won, that we were working really hard and creating opportunities, but not taking them in some matches," he added.

"We weren't playing particularly well, we were lacking in confidence. It's been a rocky time for the players. They have had to deal with a lot of things, a lot of changes.

"It takes wins to build confidence. It is alright saying they are professional footballers and should go out and play well every week, but that is not how it works.

"They are human beings, they have their insecurities, and insecurities as a team. You can only get confidence by experiencing good things and playing well.

"This will help us. We are not guaranteed to win next week because that is not how it works, but to get the kind of performance we got today was hugely pleasing, and most importantly, I think the supporters went home happy.

"I am going to enjoy tonight and then we will get to work for the St Johnstone game next week."

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