Opinion

Hearts: Derby day tomorrow, but Levein is already thinking ahead to next season

Hearts: Derby day tomorrow, but Levein is already thinking ahead to next season

Tomorrow sees the Edinburgh derby take place at Tynecastle, with the hosts knowing that a win against their arch-rivals will put them — temporarily at least — within two points of a Europa League spot.

Equally important, will be the four-point gap they will open up over their noisy neighbours, ahead of the division split which happens after this weekend’s round of matches.

With their remaining games — apart from the clashes against the top two — all against their direct rivals, as it is for the others too, the opportunity to put daylight between themselves and Hibs in sixth, will effectively mean the Europa League chase is between just three teams, albeit for just one likely remaining spot.

But manager, Craig Levein, is already looking towards summer recruitment, in a bid to make sure they can ensure a top three finish next season, in a less frantic way.

The former national team manager knows that he needs to be able to break teams down when they allow Hearts to come on to them, and to do that, he needs to bring in players with an eye for a magic pass, and who can create something from nothing.

He told the Edinburgh Evening News: “It does seem to be that we are better in the games in which teams will have a go at us. It’s harder when the opposition sit in and we have to make the running. That’s something which is really interesting for me for next season.

“We can do both things, which I think we’ll need to do next season. I think we need more creativity in the last third. I think we have players who can do that but we aren’t doing it as regularly as we need to do it. We could do with another couple of creative players in the final third.

Levein’s summer shopping has already started, with Livingston central defender, Craig Halkett, penning an agreement to join Levein, which will become official when his current contract expires at the end of June.

The prospect of bringing some flair to the side should excite fans, and although they are still in the Scottish Cup and fighting for that Europa League spot this season, next year could be one for Hearts fans to savour.

What are your thoughts on the job Craig Levein has done this season? Can they reach the top three this year, starting with a win over rivals Hibs tomorrow? Let us know your thoughts…

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