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Craig Levein believes patience won the day for Hearts

Hearts manager Craig Levein believes perseverance paid off after his side claimed a late 2-1 win over Stenhousemuir in the Betfred Cup.

League Two Stenny were on the cusp of a sensational smash-and-grab when Mark McGuigan struck after 77 minutes.

The opener came against the run of play after the Jambos had been unable to find a way through their resolute visitors – with Graeme Smith particularly impressive between the sticks for the Ochilview outfit.

However, Hearts did not panic and completed a dramatic turnaround in the dying moments as Craig Halkett struck twice to spare Jambo blushes.

Hearts will top Group A and secure their spot in the last-16 of the Betfred Cup as long as they do not lose to East Fife on Saturday.

Levein said: “We love to keep everyone in suspense.

“I’ve got a lot of faith and we created so much I felt we would eventually take advantage. All credit to the boys for keep plugging away.

“We were expected to win comfortably but that doesn’t teach us much – I thought tonight was a good lesson about perseverance in the end.

“It also showed there’s more than one way to play. Early on there was a lot of intricate play and chances without really taking advantage of them – after that it was a bit more direct.”

Halkett, meanwhile, has now notched three goals in first two games for the Jambos.

Levein laughed: “Craig? Well, that’s three (goals) already. He’s an auxiliary striker in the making!”