CRAIG Levein last night insisted he was feeling good about the pressure he is under ahead of a William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final game against Inverness Caledonian Thistle tomorrow that he needs Hearts to win in order to safeguard his position as manager.

Levein, who is hoping Uche Ikpeazu and Peter Haring will recover from minor injuries in time to play in the cup tie, was targeted for abuse by irate Hearts supporters following the 2-1 defeat to Hibernian in a Ladbrokes Premiership match at Tynecastle on Saturday.

Defeat to the Highlanders, who are managed by his former Hearts team mate John Robertson, this weekend will undoubtedly lead to calls for the 54-year-old, who returned to the dugout in 2017 after a spell as director of football, to be replaced.

But Levein said: “I feel good about the pressure. You play football or manage in order to get into the position whereby you have pressure games. If you never get into pressure situations in your career then what is the point?

“Coming into this game as favourites brings its own pressures. There is no doubting we have more pressure and Inverness have less pressure. We have more athleticism and more ability they have less. That puts the focus on us as the favourites. The key for us is to deal with the pressure of being favourites. The rest is fine.”

Meanwhile, Levein, who is looking to win his first trophy in football in the Scottish Cup, has dismissed suggestions that his team rely too heavily on route one football.

“Sometimes we do play long ball, absolutely,” he said. “We’ve got Uche in the team because he’s good at getting us from point A to point B. The perception is that’s all we do. I completely disagree with that.

“We don’t use him all the time. A lot of the time, we play our good football after we do use him. A lot of the time we play out from the back, go wide and get crosses in. If we lose a match, the perception is magnified.

“The only way I can influence what people say about the team is to get them to play well and win. That keeps people quiet for a while. That’s my nirvana.”