Aberdeen keeper Joe Lewis today insisted he will not get carried away by his Murrayfield heroics – because, if he did, the cost could be a “boot up the backside” in the next game against Kilmarnock.
Lewis produced a masterclass in shot-stopping with five superb saves in the 0-0 draw with Hearts to maintain the Reds’ unbeaten Premiership start.
The 29-year-old’s performance prompted Dons skipper Graeme Shinnie to hail Lewis as one of the best keepers in Scotland.
However, for Lewis it was just another day at the office as he insisted the nature of his position demands there can be no emotion – whether positive or negative.
There will be no basking in the glow of one of the best performances from a Dons keeper in years – Lewis’ immediate and entire attention has switched to the home clash against Killie on Saturday.
Lewis insists it has to be that way as the loss of focus in the build-up to a game, as during match play, can be costly when between the sticks.
He said: “When you are a goalkeeper you cannot get too carried away if you have a good game. If you do that a boot up the backside can be just around the corner.
“That is why I never get too up when I have a good game nor too disappointed when I make mistakes.
“In my position keeping a level head is very important and that is what I try to do.
“I was able to play my part at Murrayfield but now all I am looking at is trying to get a result against Kilmarnock.”
Lewis has racked up four shut-outs this campaign to add to the 21 clean sheets secured in his debut Pittodrie season.
His performance in Edinburgh ensured the Dons moved level on points with Celtic at the top of the table.
Defending champions Celtic narrowly hold pole position as they boast a superior goal difference.
Lewis said: “We are joint top of the Premiership which is important. Now we look forward to the Kilmarnock game.
“We could have maybe scored when we were on top at against Hearts which is what you need to do when playing well.
“Maybe that final ball wasn’t good enough.
“I also felt we possibly should have had a penalty at the start of the game with Adam (Rooney, who was brought down), but Hearts could possibly have had one as well.
“So on reflection a draw was probably a fair result.”
The former England squad keeper signed on at the Dons last summer and immediately made the No1 position his own. He has featured in every minute of action in all competitions since then.
Following Lewis’ stand-out performance, newly-appointed Hearts boss Craig Levein insisted he felt “robbed” after having so many clear opportunities thwarted.
Lewis insisted being called into action so often was the Yin to the Yang that comes with playing attacking football away.
A necessary trade-off as the Reds went with an attacking gameplan in a bid to extend their winning start to the league to five matches.
Dons boss Derek McInnes started with an unfamiliar 3-5-2 formation, while Hearts adopted a 4-5-1, utilising a midfield diamond.
Lewis said: “We played an attacking formation and went to Murrayfield to win.
“We were positive but if you play attacking football you are always going to be vulnerable to counter-attacks.
“You have to accept you will give up a few chances when you set up as positively as we did away from home.
“That is what can happen.
“I don’t think you can criticise a team for being positive and trying to win. “Fortunately I was able to make a few saves but I felt we also defended well.”
Lewis had five impressive saves but the stand-out was a magnificent finger-tip effort to push a shot from the unmarked Jamie Walker over the bar in the first half.
He said: “When the ball fell to Jamie Walker he had a lot of time and space.
“I threw my top hand at it at the last minute and managed to get a strong finger to divert it over the bar, which was pleasing.
“Walker is a good player and has that ability so as the ball fell to him I decided not to run out to him and try to rush him.
“I opted to drop back as close to the line as I could get and position myself.
“I could see him opening up for it so I leaped and got my top hand to push it over.”
Having signed on at Pittodrie last summer the former Cardiff City keeper won the battle with Neil Alexander for No1 spot and retained that slot.
Lewis has played every minute in every competition for the Dons since arriving at Pittodrie.
Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes recently secured Lewis on a two-year contract extension until summer 2020.
If he maintains this form for the next three years it could catapult him into the pantheon of Pittodrie goal-keeping greats alongside Theo Snelders, Bobby Clark and Jim Leighton.
Victory at Murrayfield would have sent the Reds two points clear at the top of the Premiership above Celtic.
The unique fixture at the home of Scottish rugby also offered the opportunity for the Dons to set a new club record of eight straight league away wins.
The Reds had matched the previous best – set previously in 1971 and 1936.
Lewis said: “It was a strange game really because in the first half I felt we were by far the better team.
“Possession wise we played some really great stuff without causing their goalkeeper too many problems.
“Hearts are a better side than when we have played them before and will be a tough fixture for anyone. So it is probably a good point, a fair point.”
A 6,850-strong Red Army travelled to Murrayfield, Hearts’ temporary home while a £12 million redevelopment of Tynecastle’s Main Stand is completed.
Lewis said: “It was pretty impressive to see the amount of fans we brought down.
“I am a big fan of Murrayfield.
“Considering it was half full, it was a good atmosphere.
“I desperately wanted us to score so I could watch our fans celebrate.
“That would have been great but unfortunately it did not happen. Hopefully next week we are a bit tighter and limit Kilmarnock to fewer chances than we allowed Hearts at Murrayfield.”