Hearts boss Craig Levein unhappy over ‘soft’ penalty as Hearts draw with St Johnstone

Hearts manager Craig Levein (SNS Group / Kenny Smith)

HEARTS manager Craig Levein branded St Johnstone’s controversial penalty “softer than soft” as the teams fought out a 2-2 draw at McDiarmid Park.

Hearts had twice taken the lead but were left frustrated after referee Andrew Dallas awarded a second half penalty for an alleged jersey pull by Peter Haring on Saints substitute Liam Gordon.

Levein, who was angered by referee Bobby Madden’s display in Sunday’s 2-1 defeat to Rangers, insisted there was nothing in the incident but this time held back on his comments for fear of falling foul of the Scottish FA disciplinary department.

He said: “Have you seen it? That’s softer than soft?

“I’ve only seen three angles and I can’t see anything. I’ll let you guys [the media] write what you think, because I might get myself into trouble.

“It’s certainly a test of character for the players and for myself and for the supporters.

“But all credit to the boys, we we built on our performance on Sunday.

“This is a notoriously difficult place to get anything from. They have been on a great run of form and not conceding any goals, and I thought we were pretty good.

“We are not back to our level and we won’t be until we get our main players back but it was another step forward.”

Asked about his discussions with Dallas after striding onto the pitch at full-time, Levein added: “I don’t even want to [go there]. I didn’t say anything untoward, I can assure you.”

St Johnstone counterpart Tommy Wright was satisfied his side had extended their unbeaten run to seven matches but insisted they should have been celebrating a victory.

Arnaud Djoum and Olly Bozanic twice got Hearts in front but Blair Alston’s first half equaliser and Matthew Kennedy’s penalty earned the Perth side a draw.

Wright said: “I was disappointed to lose two points. We were by far the better team and they barely laid a glove on us.

“We dealt with their physicality. They are a strong team, dangerous at set plays but at the first we didn’t shut down the cross and then at the second we allowed the smallest man on the pitch to score.

“I was disappointed with our defending but pleased that we showed character to bounce back and dominate. Only one team deserved to win the game.”