Craig Levein admits he can understand the Hearts fans' frustrations after his side were booed off against East Fife.
The Jambos huffed and puffed their way into the last 16 of the Betfred Cup but missed out on being seeded for Sunday's draw after being held to a 1-1 draw by Darren Young's League One part-timers at New Bayview.
Jamie Walker stroked the Gorgie men in front after quarter of an hour but the lack of killer edge that haunted them through their first three group games was evident again as Chris Duggan levelled up just after half-time.
The Fifers even claimed the bonus point as Sean Clare, Oliver Bozanic and Aaron Hickey all failed to convert in their 7-6 shoot-out defeat.
As Hearts trudged down the tunnel, Levein faced a barrage of abuse from a furious section of the 1,000-strong travelling support.
But he said: "Our fans expect us to win but I expect us to win. So there's nobody more disappointed than me.
"It was the same last season when we struggled to get through against Raith Rovers and the supporters were unhappy. And then we started the league season particularly well.
"I'm a little bit annoyed but we're through to the next stage of the cup. We now need to prepare for our first league game against Aberdeen.
"With us not scoring when we should the opposition get a bit of a lift and then it starts to creep into the confidence and that's what we saw today.
"When we get some players back – especially Steven Naismith – that should help. But we shouldn't be relying on Steven for a game at East Fife."
East Fife's extra point means they pinch second place from Dundee United and could yet find themselves joining Hearts in the next round so long as Sunday's clash between Inverness and Dundee does not end in a draw.
Young said: "I can't give the players enough credit. We got another big result today and hopefully we're through to the last 16 of the League Cup.
"I think the fans are starting to believe in us. We've played against two full-time teams – a Championship and Premier League – and we've been brilliant."