CRAIG LEVEIN hailed his Hearts heroes following their 3-0 Scottish Cup semi-final triumph over Inverness Caley Thistle at Hampden this afternoon.
A three-goal second-half downed the gallant Highlanders to set up a May 25 silverware shoot-out with holders Celtic or Aberdeen who meet in their last-four encounter at the national stadium tomorrow afternoon.
Uche Ikpeazu, John Souttar and Sean Clare, with a penalty-kick, claimed the goals that eased the Edinburgh side through to the season’s grand finale.
Levein, speaking to BBC Sport, admitted: “We’ve haven’t been in the best of form recently, so it was important to play with a calmness and clear heads.
“Once we got in front, I thought we were comfortable. We’ve sent our supporters away happy, which is the main thing, and we will be back here in May.”
Ikpeazu made the breakthrough four minutes after the restart, Souttar volleyed in at the back post to double the advantage and Clare rolled in a sweet penalty-kick for the third and clinching effort.
RISE AND SHINE…Hearts keeper Bobby Zlamal fists clears from Caley Thistle attacker Jordan White.
The Edinburgh boss praised Man of the Match Jake Mulraney and added: “He’s the kind of player who needs confidence.
“We’ve seen glimpses of what he can do and it’s really just about him putting that together consistently. He was our main outlet and caused Inverness all sorts of problems.”
Thistle coach John Robertson, the former Hearts fans’ favourite, said: “I thought we were fine in the first-half. We said to the players ‘well done, it’s important to stay in the game’ and then we lose a goal within five minutes.
“We knuckled down and were terrific for the next 15 minutes and started to cause them problems, but to beat a Premiership team, you need a bit of luck.”
The Highlanders’ gaffer will now turn his attention to the play-off race in the Championship.
Caley are currently in the final play-off spot, with four games remaining. They face Morton on Tuesday evening.