U20s boss Stephen Craigan felt his side weren’t ruthless enough as they lost 1-0 at home to Hearts in the Development League tonight.
A goal from Robbie Muirhead was enough for the visitors, who named an experience side, to claim all three points at a chilly Excelsior Stadium.
And speaking to MFC TV after the match, the Northern Irishman admitted his side started on the front foot but fell away as the match progressed.
He said: “I think the longer the game went on the less likely we looked to get back into it. I think the first 20 minutes we started really, really well – we were positive in midfield, our movement was good and I thought we moved the ball well and created chances.
“We had a good chance with a free kick on the edge of the box and then the penalty miss, which was a hammer blow at that stage because when you’re on top of the game you have to take your chances.”
[pullquote]The first 20 minutes we started really, really well – we were positive in midfield, our movement was good and I thought we moved the ball well and created chances.[/pullquote]
Former Killie man Muirhead put Hearts in front after a long ball from Alim Öztürk cleared the Motherwell defence and the forward coolly finished past young keeper Jordan Pettigrew.
Craigan admitted that he was disappointed to see the pass trouble his side. He said: “After about 20, 25 minutes the game became quite even and they came at us a bit more before scoring their goal which came from a hopeful ball of the park.
“I know it was a decent pass from Öztürk but when someone’s playing the ball 70 yards it can’t be causing us the problems it did.
“That’s the frustration working with young players you can try and work on one aspect of the game and then something we haven’t spoke about for a week or two suddenly rears its head.”
He added: “Overall it was a frustrating night – we had some decent performances without reaching top class so it was hard to take.”
[pullquote] I prefer the kids to play against the older players, I think it tests them and a few of the youngsters showed tonight that they still have work to do.[/pullquote]
Hearts fielded a number of experienced players, but that didn’t bother Craigan, who prefers his youngsters to be tested against as high a standard of opposition as possible.
He said: “I prefer the kids to play against the older players, I think it tests them and a few of the youngsters showed tonight that they still have work to do to improve their game and against an experienced side you have to take your chances.
“I can think back to Partick Thistle last week, Cumbernauld Colts on Sunday and then here tonight against Hearts – in each match we’ve created three or four really good chances in the opening ten minutes but not managed to put the game to bed.”