A DELIGHTED Craig Levein admitted that winning the Scottish Cup with Hearts would be the greatest moment of his football career.

The Tynecastle side got past Championship Inverness Caledonian Thistle at Hampden with a 3-0 win, with all their goals coming in the second-half, and will face either Aberdeen of Celtic on May 25. Their semi-final takes place today.

Levein’s association with Hearts goes back to 1983 when he joined the club he would eventually captain from Cowdenbeath. This is his second stint as manager, he remains a director, and yet has still to collect a winners’ medal as either player or manager.

He said: “It's a very proud moment for me and it will be even prouder when the cup final comes around. I've done a lot of things in football but to come back and win a cup with Hearts would be THE best thing.

"We've had a rollercoaster season but I'm so proud of and pleased with the players, how they dealt with the pressure. The pressure was the thing that was against us.

“We had more ability than Inverness but we had more pressure and they had less ability and pressure, that's why we're favourites. Being favourites does make you worry sometimes about losing but they handled that very well and a result, of course, is us playing here in May.”

Levein’s side lost at home to Hibernian last week and the manager was the target for the supporters’ abuse.

They again made their feelings clear at half-time after a poor 45 minutes by Hearts. However, they now have a Scottish Cup final to look forward to just five years after their club almost went to the wall.

Levein said: "I've long ago stopped worrying about being criticised. it comes with the job, and the longer you’re in it, the more you realise it's a part of it. If we don't play well, we get criticised.

“And complaining about it never does any good.

“We started last week losing the derby, but we still managed to glean some confidence from it by the way we played.

“But the early part of the week was still quite sore. By the Thursday or Friday, we were back to ourselves though - we felt pretty good going into the game.

"We ran out worthy winners. The first half was closer than the second. We were a little bit nervous in the first half and got rid of the ball a bit quicker than we needed to. Half-time came at a good time for us and we managed to settle the nerves. Particularly once we got the first goal we were in complete control and other than the free-kick that Bobby (Zlamal) saved I don't recall any major chances for Inverness.”

Levein was full of praise for John Robertson, his former team-mate at Hearts, whose Inverness team never game up and didn’t enjoy the rub of the green when a goal was wrongly disallowed for offside with the score at 1-0.

The pair had a chat at the final whistle and Levein revealed: “Robbo doesn't do anything other than lengthy conversations!

“I have a lot of respect for him, we spent a lot of time together in the dressing room as players and I keep in touch all the time.

“He's very brave in the way he sets out his teams, leaving three up at times, and we had a far more comfortable afternoon against them earlier in the season in the Betfred Cup than we did today.I really hope his team manages to get into the play-offs and up to the Premier League because I think they would be an asset, with the way they play.”