Hearts boss Craig Levein admits he has ordered his shot-shy Jambos in for extra shooting practice after seeing them waste 70 chances in the space of three games.
The Tynecastle side have made an unbeaten start to the campaign with two Betfred Cup wins and a penalty shoot-out triumph over Dundee United.
But despite creating as many as 75 attempts on goal, Levein’s team have found the net just five times.
That has left the Gorgie boss concerned and he has laid on a series of target drills this week to sharpen up his frontmen ahead of Saturday’s final Group A clash away to East Fife.
Levein – who says he is making progress on signing a new midfielder with Olly Lee close to agreeing a move to Southend – said: “It depends on the stats you look at but we’ve had between 65 and 75 goal attempts in the last three games and we’ve scored five goals.
“So the focus for us is to keep creating the chances. We’re doing work in training and the goals will come I’m sure.
“How do we do that? Well we just do more finishing practice. We try to keep the focus on basically putting the ball in the back of net clinically rather than trying to be too clever about it.
“There’s nothing we can do about good defending, people blocking shots and goalkeepers having worldies.
“But we can focus on hitting the target, particularly from crosses and at close range. That’s doable and is what we’ve been doing the last few days.”
A draw will guarantee Hearts’ progress to the knock-out stages but Levein knows his side cannot take Darren Young’s men lightly at New Bayview after seeing them shock United at Tannadice.
He said: “I think this will be a difficult game tomorrow. The pitch will be dry and the ball moves slowly on dry astroturf.
“Generally the favourites in the game are so because they have better technique and the ability to move the ball around quicker and expose the opposition.
“The fact the pitch is dry means we won’t have as much of an advantage as we would normally.
“The 2-0 win up at Tannadice was a bit of a surprise but all credit to East Fife. We had people at the game and by all accounts it was deserved.
“So that gives us even more reason to be a bit more cautious and not to think we’ve got any God-given right to win this game.
“We have to work to create the chances and work to take them.”
Connor Washington will miss the Fifers clash with a facial injury sustained on Wednesday against Stenhousemuir.
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