I’m not leaving: Levein

Craig vows to battle on despite protests after Hearts’ home defeat to Motherwell.

By Press Association Published: 14 September 2019 - 6.37pm

UK

Football

Scotland

Hearts boss Craig Levein insists he will not quit despite the Jambos’ 3-2 home defeat to Motherwell being following by a protest outside Tynecastle Park.

Levein is adamant the capital club’s miserable start to the Ladbrokes Premiership campaign is ‘not a huge problem’ after they slipped to the foot of the table.

Goals from Declan Gallagher, Sherwin Seedorf and Jermaine Hylton did the damage, rendering strikes from Uche Ikpeazu and Ryo Meshino futile and extending Hearts’ winless start to the league campaign.

Hearts have won just four league fixtures in the whole of 2019 and several hundred fans outside the Main Stand made it plain that they believe Levein’s time is up.

A banner reading ‘Levein Out’ was displayed, while the protest threatened to boil over as a handful of seething supporters attempted to storm the reception.

However, the former Scotland manager remains defiant, saying: “Do I feel my position is untenable? I don’t. I feel that I am more than capable of improving results.

“The season has just started. We are six points off fourth place. I don’t consider that to be a huge problem for us.

“It is just part of the job. Supporters get frustrated that their team at home should be winning.

“My focus is just on the game. I don’t try and listen to anything else. It’s not helpful.”

There were also vociferous chants of ‘sack the board’ – of which Levein is also a director – from the crowd outside and Levein confirmed he remains in regular dialogue with owner Ann Budge.

However, there was no indication that a point of no return is approaching.

Levein added: “I speak to Ann Budge regularly. We talk about results and if results aren’t good then we look to improve. It is a normal conversation.”

Motherwell, meanwhile, can celebrate their first triumph at Tynecastle since January 2014.

It was a richly merited one, too, with boss Stephen Robinson reserving special praise for central defender Gallagher, who he believes can bolster Scotland’s modest options.

Robinson said: “Declan must be close to Scotland reckoning if he keeps playing like that.

“I think when you are playing at Motherwell maybe you don’t get the credit you deserve. But Steve Clarke has been to our games and he is well aware of him.”