Levein says he’s tired of referee mistakes

 

Hearts manager Craig Levein is still as incensed as he was on Sunday about the events that took place during the game against Steven Gerrard’s side.

Rangers came back from a goal decide to beat Hearts 2-1 but the Jam Tarts boss feels the match officials cost his side the three points.

Replays showed that Colombian striker Alfredo Morelos was offside when scoring the winning goal. Morelos also got away without being booked by referee Bobby Madden despite committing numerous fouls, as well as goading the crowd after his match-winning strike.

Levein was in a typical scathing mood when the topic of Sunday’s match was brought up again this afternoon.

He said; “I criticise my players, I criticise myself. If officials make the same blatant mistake seven times this season I should be entitled to say that.

“Of course I’m angry. This is my job, my livelihood.”

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Hearts are away to St Johnstone on Wednesday night.

Levein also hit back at ex-referee Steve Conroy, who believed that the Hearts manager’s comments towards Madden were more on a personal level than professional, something which he strongly denies.

He added: “Looking back, I’m probably angrier than I was at the weekend.

“I’m angrier when you get ex-referees who come out and just talk rubbish. To say I made a personal attack on Bobby, I wasn’t having a pop at Bobby’s character – as a person he’s a great guy.

“But as a professional performance, that’s completely different and I think I’m entitled to do that.”

Ahead of tomorrow’s trip to face St Johnstone, Levein revealed that he will consider resting captain Christophe Berra, after he made his return to action following four months out against Rangers.

“Of course I’m angry. This is my job, my livelihood.”

Officials at the clubs are keen to not demand too much from the skipper since he has just made his comeback, as they don’t want him to risk a recurrence of the hamstring injury that had previously sidelined him.

Levein said: “Getting Christophe back is a big plus. I don’t know if we can play him tomorrow, we will need to see how he is recovering from Sunday.

“It might be just taking too big a chance but I’m not sure. I’ll wait and see.”

The defeat against Rangers means that Hearts have gone six matches without a win, which also includes five defeats. On the other hand, tomorrow’s opponents are on a six-game unbeaten spell under manager Tommy Wright, and they will be looking to extend that run against Levein’s struggling side.

Edinburgh City boss admits injury scare ahead of cup replay

John Menzies credit to Ross

James McDonaugh looks ahead to tonight’s cup replay. Photo by Ross Cowper-Fraser

Edinburgh City manager, James McDonaugh admitted that his side could do without tonight’s Scottish Cup replay as they fear potential injuries.

City travel to the Highlands to play Inverness Caledonian Thistle and while a cup run is of importance, their focus will also be on retaining their two point lead in League Two.

McDonaugh spoke ahead of tonight’s third round replay.

He said: “Because we are struggling with injuries, tonight’s match is one that we could do without. I guess so far it’s okay because we keep winning, but at some point we’re going to be really struggling if we get a couple more injuries or any suspensions.

“We haven’t been able to give any of our first team players a rest over the past six weeks, so we’ve had to stick with the same core of players for our last few games. Of course the team keep winning games but we could easily lose a player or two to suspension, and then we’d really be in trouble.”

City drew the first meeting 1-1 at Ainslie Park against John Robertson’s side and hope they can do it again as they travel to Tulloch Caledonian Stadium for the 19:45 kick off.

They’re coming off the back of Saturday’s 2-0 win against Queen’s Park. A performance that certainly pleased McDonaugh going into tonight’s game.

He added: “I thought we were very good in the first half, playing on the front foot and at a good tempo. We always looked like a threat going forward.

“In the second half, the game turned very scrappy and we didn’t play as well but to be fair, we were 2-0 up because of a lot of hard work in the first half.”

“Overall, the players deserve a lot of credit for securing another three points.”

Inverness CT come into tonight on the back of only their third defeat of the season, and their first in the league. They lost to 3-2 to McDonaugh’s former club, Falkirk over the weekend.

But despite that setback, the Highland side will be fancying their chances to progress at home to lower league opposition.

And McDonaugh expects it to be a very tough task against their Championship opponents.

“For us to have a chance against Inverness, every player for us must perform at their best, and we need them to have an off day, and a bit of luck as well. We would need all three to go our way. Of course we can win, but the chances of it happening are very minimal.”

Should Edinburgh City come through tonight’s match, they will be rewarded with a home tie against Lowland League side East Kilbride in the fourth round.

Hearts “unlikely to make wholesale changes” ahead of Dundee clash

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Craig Levein (credit: ENRG Sport)

Heart of Midlothian manager Craig Levein revealed in yesterday’s press conference that he won’t be drawn into making too many changes for tonight’s SPFL Premiership match against Dundee.

The league leaders face the Dees at Dens Park, with the opportunity to go six points clear at the top of the table, before playing Celtic in Sunday’s Betfred Cup semi-final at Murrayfield. Despite the game against Brendan Rodgers’ side being a massive occasion for the club, Levein is wary of changing too much.

Levein joked; “I look at it fairly simply: to go into Sunday feeling good, we are better having won at Dundee than me messing about and trying to be clever, because trying to be clever is not one of my biggest strengths.

“The game on Tuesday night is hugely important and we can only help Sunday by putting on a good performance and trying to get three points.

“I started looking at maybe changing it but they had a break already with the international break so we don’t want to do an awful lot different. There might be one or two changes but that will be the maximum.”

Levein, who turned 54 yesterday, also revealed that the club is trying to work on extending the loan spell of Irish defender Jimmy Dunne. The 21-year-old, who has filled the void left by injured captain Christophe Berra, is currently on loan from Burnley until January, but Levein wants to extend his loan until the end of the season, especially with the news that Scotland international John Souttar will be sidelined for the next five to six months.

“I’ve already spoken to Jimmy and I just need to get in touch with Burnley and I will do that in the next couple of weeks,” said Levein.

I’ve been pleased with him. For a young guy, he has brought quite a lot of calmness to the team, along with his obvious attributes. He is a good passer of the ball and is good in the air and has decent pace. He is a calm boy, low maintenance and is not difficult to deal with at all.

McGlynn “very happy” to be back managing Raith Rovers

John Menzies - RRFC

Stark’s Park, where John McGlynn manages Raith Rovers (credit: Colin Pine)

John McGlynn is back in charge at Raith Rovers, six years after leaving the club, and is targeting promotion back into the second tier of Scottish football.

The 56-year-old returned to Stark’s Park four weeks ago, replacing Barry Smith, who resigned his post at the beginning of September. And McGlynn revealed that the chance to take the reigns again at the Fife side was too good to turn down.

“It was the lure of Raith Rovers that I left Celtic for. When the opportunity arose, I felt like I was the right man for the job. I had a successful spell here before and I hope to repeat that this time around.”

McGlynn was previously at Raith between 2006 and 2012, and guided the club to promotion from the Second Division in the 2008-09 season. Two years later, he led the club to second place in the First Division, narrowly missing out on promotion to the SPL to rivals Dunfermline. He left in 2012 to join Heart of Midlothian, where he had previously been First Team Coach.

McGlynn was most recently manager at Livingston, who he left by mutual consent in December 2014. But despite being out of the managerial game for almost four years, he feels like it’s taken no time to adjust back.

“No, not at all. There’s so much to do that you can’t really do anything other than think about what’s right in front of you.

“Taking training, preparing for matches and so on: there’s so much work to get done here, you’re thrown right back into the mix.

“You just have to roll up your sleeves and get on with it.”

Joining McGlynn back at Raith is assistant Paul Smith. Smith was McGlynn’s number 2 during his previous spell at the club, and he revealed that one of the main attractions of re-joining the Rovers was reuniting with Smith.

“To work with Paul again was a key factor for me. We’ve both had a successful time here together previously, we know each other well and we know how to get the best out of the players.

“The partnership we have has worked in the past, it’s working now and it will work well in the future.”

McGlynn’s second tenure has seen the club pick up seven points out of a possible nine, and they will be looking to continue their unbeaten start to the season on Saturday, when they travel to Station Park to face Forfar Athletic.

Dell “excited” to be back involved for Edinburgh

 

Edinburgh Rugby prop Allan Dell is back in the mix for the club, replacing the suspended Pierre Schoeman, and is looking to build his fitness over the next few weeks.

The 26-year-old was in the team for last weekend’s narrow victory over Italian side Benetton, and is now hoping to get a run of games under his belt.

“Injuries are frustrating, and it’s just that whole process of trying to get match fitness in,” said the Scotland International.

“My body is not what it used to be, so I’m just enjoying every week at the moment.

“I think the fitness will be tested this week if I’m selected against the Cheetahs. Luckily, we’re not playing in Bloemfontein, otherwise my lungs would be burning so I can’t complain about that.

“I’m finally starting to get that fitness back, I’m starting to get a run of games under my belt so I can start building that resilience into the game.”

Edinburgh face Cheetahs in the Pro14 this Friday, and Dell is wary of the threat the South African club pose despite their poor start to the season.

“The Cheetahs are always dangerous. Other than their opening game, they have been competitive in every game that they’ve played. We have to make sure that we are switched on.

“They are an exciting side. You don’t really know what they are going to do. But that unstructured style of play suits them. They make it look like they have no game plan but they fill well into that.

“We need to be on the money. The way that we have been analysing them, we have to stick to that because if we switch off, they’ll score one or two tries quickly. And we won’t be able to come back against a side that good.”

Edinburgh face Cheetahs at BT Murrayfield this Friday. Kick-off is at 7:35pm.

Victory over St Johnstone keeps Hearts’ dream start rolling on

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It is certainly a good time to be a fan of Heart of Midlothian. Saturday’s 2-1 victory against St Johnstone maintained the club’s unbeaten start in the SPFL Premiership, picking up 19 points out of a possible 21 in the process. They sit top of the table – and judging by the way they are playing – they do not look like relinquishing that position anytime soon.

The strength in depth that Craig Levein has at his disposal this season is clear to see. The team comfortably beating the Perth side, even without the likes of Christophe Berra, Aaron Hughes, Harry Cochrane and Uche Ikpeazu, who were missing through injury. Even an influential player like Steven Naismith was afforded an off day, by his high standards. Yet still, Hearts never looked like getting anything other than three points.

It was a tale of two headers of the home side – Peter Haring and Jimmy Dunne netted in either half from Olly Lee corners. Haring’s a looping header that went into the far corner, whilst Dunne’s was a bullet that left Saints keeper Zander Clark with no chance. Ex-Hearts midfielder Ross Callachan netted a consolation to set us a nervy ending on his first appearance at Tynecastle Park since leaving last month. However, the Jamtarts stood firm and clung on to the three points.

Austrian midfielder Haring has been a revelation since arriving from his homeland in the summer. Originally signed as a central defender, he made the switch to the centre of the park during the club’s 5-0 victory over Cowdenbeath back in July and has now cemented his spot. He was magnificent on Saturday. He won the ball back on several occasions, before calming finding a teammate. Everything he did was so effortless and yet so effective. It’s no wonder he is receiving the plaudits that he is right now.

Not enough credit can be giving to the job Craig Levein has done at Hearts since pre-season. It couldn’t have been easy to gel 18 new players with the squad he had already, but he’s done it with maximum effectiveness thus far. In addition, with the exciting prospect of Sean Clare still to come in to the first team fold, it is certainly an exciting time for Heart of Midlothian.

Next week’s match against Rangers at Ibrox will be a massive test as to how far Hearts have come this season. Rangers are another side that look rejuvenated – under the guidance of Steven Gerrard – and many are tipping them for the title. And Hearts should be expecting a reaction, following the Ibrox side’s disappointing 1-0 defeat at Livingston on Sunday. It certainly promises to be an intriguing affair.

Hearts’ Edinburgh rivals Hibernian have gone under the radar so far this season, but Saturday’s hard-fought 1-0 away to St Mirren was the club’s third successive victory. They sit second, five points behind Hearts. And perhaps the most promising thing for Hibs fans is that they are yet to hit top gear. Once they get firing, the rest of the league should be scared.

 

SPFL Premiership Team of the Month – September

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September was certainly an exciting month in the SPFL Premiership, with upsets, hat-tricks and great goals scored. Here is EN4News’s Team of the Month.

Goalkeeper – Liam Kelly

The Livingston stopper has made some top saves this month; no less than his penalty save from Steven Naismith in Livi’s goalless draw at Hearts. He only conceded once in September, that goal was from Hibs’ Daryl Horgan.

 

Right Back – Efe Ambrose

The Nigerian has really started to hit form for the Hibees after a shaky start to the season. He was exceptional in Saturday’s 1-0 victory over St Mirren in Paisley.

 

Centre Back – Jimmy Dunne

It can’t have been easy to replace the injured Christophe Berra, but Jimmy Dunne has made a fine start to this Hearts career since joining on loan from Burnley in the summer. He didn’t start the month particularly well, scoring an own goal in the 4-1 win over St Mirren, but he has looked very solid in recent weeks.

 

Centre Back – Alan Lithgow

Lithgow, like with his Livingston teammates, has adapted to the Premiership very quickly. He looks very assured playing in the left of a three-man defence. He looks a big threat from set pieces too for the West Lothian side.

 

Left Back – Greg Taylor

Taylor is turning into a fine player for Kilmarnock, and someone that Steve Clarke can rely on. He looks assured on the ball and is comfortable going forward and defending, and demonstrated this on numerous occasions over the month.

 

Right Midfielder– Chris Burke

The veteran has thrived since returning to Kilmarnock. He netted twice for the Ayrshire club this month, as well as delivering the corner that Stuart Findlay scored the winning goal from against Celtic.

 

Central Midfielder – Olly Lee

Many in England questioned Lee’s decision to move north of the border over the summer, but he has certainly answered his critics so far this season with some dominating displays. His set piece delivering always pose a threat to the opposition, no more apparent than Saturday’s victory over St Johnstone where he set up both goals.

 

Central Midfielder – Scott Pittman

Pittman was been a star player for Livingston this month. He’s always up for the battle, even when against the likes of Hibs and Rangers. Scored the winning goal in the club’s victory over the Hibees too.

 

Left Midfielder – Steven Naismith

The Scotland international has been a fan’s favourite since signing on a six-month loan from Norwich City in January, and he has been in imperious form since returning for a second loan spell in the summer. Currently the league’s top scorer with five goals, he netted a hat-trick against St Mirren as well as scoring the only goal in the club’s victory at Motherwell.

 

Centre Forward – Greg Stewart

There was pressure on Stewart to improve on his showings for Aberdeen, where he scored only three times across the whole of last season. However, since he signed for Killie on loan from Birmingham City, he has been in sublime form. He matched his total goals from last season in September alone, with strikes against Aberdeen, Hibs and Motherwell.

 

Striker – Eamonn Brophy

The 22-year-old was in impressive form in September. Like his teammate Stewart, he scored three against the same opposition. Last season’s Premiership top scorer Kris Boyd can’t even get a look-in at the moment.

 

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