Keith Lasley spoke to the broadcast media ahead of the Ladbrokes Premiership clash with Kilmarnock at the weekend.
Here’s what the assistant manager had to say.
ON WHAT THE TEAM CAN TAKE FROM WEDNESDAY NIGHT’S PERFORMANCE
“We felt a lot went right in the game for a start. Obviously the result is ultimately what you have to get in cup football and we managed that last season, more often than not, but not on Wednesday. What we will take from the match is the overall performance, there was a lot of good things: the energy, drive, determination and desire and some good play amongst it as well.
“When you look at the overall picture, there was a lot of good in it. It’s an obvious cliché about ways to win a match, but conversely, there’s also ways to lose a match and for us, as much as the result is hard to take, we thought we put a lot into it and there’s a great deal we can take out it.
“We’ve got to move on now, that’s football and we wish Hearts luck in the rest of the tournament, they’re a good side. We are now fully focused on Kilmarnock now and taking a lot of elements of our performance from Wednesday into this weekend.”
ON WHETHER OR NOT THERE WAS A SENSE THE TEAM HAD GOT BACK TO WHAT THEY WERE RENOWNED FOR LAST SEASON
“Last season we worked hard at trying to create an identity where the team would show that energy and all the words I used previously in terms of drive, determination and good play in the right areas and I think a lot of that was there on Wednesday.
“We need to try and kick on now. The season is still early enough where we can still mould our own patch whichever way we choose, as long as we work hard enough and perform the way we can. It’s up to us to do that and show that now.
“As I’ve said, Wednesday was a disappointment as we had such success in the cups last year, but it’s still early in the campaign and still another cup to go and play in when that comes around and we’re confident we can still go on and have a decent season.”
ON WHAT SORT OF TEST KILMARNOCK WILL POSE
“A massive test. I don’t think there’s much to add to the conversation about how good a job Steve Clarke’s done, it’s all been said. He really has turned the club around and I seen a stat the other day on social media that showed them top of the table when it comes to the 2018 calendar year. That’s a perfect indication of the job he’s done.
“It’s obviously down at there place and it’ll be a tough test for us. I was there watching their match with Celtic last weekend which they deservedly won, so we know what we’re up against – a group of players who have a real spirit amongst them, a great work ethic and some really talented individuals.
That all being said, it’s about us and what we do. Our focus over the last two days has been very much on that going into the match.”
ON THE DECISION TO PLAY BOTH BETFRED CUP SEMI FINALS AT HAMPDEN PARK ON THE SAME DAY
“I’ve got to say I was surprised, that was my first reaction, certainly from a security point of view, and a logistical one in terms of turning the stadium around. Obviously I have no expertise in those areas, obviously, but if they feel they can do it and I am sure BT Sport will package it well on the television.
It’s two good semi-finals and hopefully it can showcase Scottish football, but I have to say, I was surprised about it. Hopefully it works out, although we’re just upset we’re not going to be part of it as I am sure it’ll be an exciting day.”
ON WHETHER A RUN OF DEFEATS HAS IMPACTED THE BELIEF IN THE DRESSING ROOM
“Not at all, it’s still early and we still have it within our power to mould the season whatever way we want in terms of our own performances. It’s up to us to get results to back that up now as we are well aware it’s a results driven business.
“However, last Wednesday has convinced everyone that we’re capable of performing to that standard and we believe if we play like that we’ll win more games of football than we’ll lose and that’s what we’ll look to show on Saturday.
“So whilst we were hugely disappointed to lose, there were a lot of elements we were happy with and it’s now up to continue that level, but also getting results. We want to get up the table and give ourselves a chance of pushing on and having a good season.”
ON GETTING BOWMAN AND MAIN TOGETHER ON THE SAME PITCH
“We’ve had a few niggles and injuries that have impacted us from the start of the season and have held certain guys back – that said, I am sure a lot of clubs could say the same. When we have got everyone available, particularly in the striking area, we feel as if we have combinations up there that can cause teams some problems and one of them is Main and Bowman, who on their day are a real handful for anyone.
“I think they proved last season and hopefully, when we get them both up to full fitness and niggle free, we hope they can again go on to show their worth and how much of a handful they actually are. Wednesday showed some good signs of that and in the coming weeks, we hope we can improve on that even more.”
ON OTHER TEAM NEWS
“We’ve got late decisions to make on Andy Rose and Peter Hartley. Andy trained Friday so that will be a late check. Charles Dunne is still a little bit away but he’s on the pitch again, which is a great to see him back.
“Craig Tanner had to have another operation and I believe everything has gone well with that. It was obviously a very serious injury at the time and with this setback, he’s still going to be a little bit of time away.
“That said, things went well with the latest surgery and with the determination he has, I am sure he’ll be back as soon as he can and when he does, it’ll be a big boost for us.”