Craig Levein and Neil Lennon ‘know how to wind each other up’

Hearts manager Craig Levein and Hibs head coach Neil Lennon. Pic: SNS
Hearts manager Craig Levein and Hibs head coach Neil Lennon. Pic: SNS
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Hearts owner Ann Budge admits manager Craig Levein has a glint in his eye when winding up his Hibs counterpart Neil Lennon.

Both Edinburgh managers have enjoyed jibes at one another this season – Levein’s “natural order” comment being the most notable – and Budge believes the 53-year-old enjoys the verbal jousting.

Congratulating Hibs on qualifying for Europe as the Premiership’s newly-promoted team, she laid down a challenge to Levein to improve on Hearts’ sixth-place finish.

“It’s down to Craig now, absolutely,” explained Budge, who sacked previous head coach Ian Cathro on the eve of the league starting. “This season was always going to be a turbulent season off the pitch and then, with what happened at the start of the season, clearly everywhere we looked we had things to deal with.

“Craig has got business done early and I had a meeting with him yesterday where we’ve gone through a few other things that are hopefully going to come through. We’re feeling quite good about it.

“It was the right thing for Craig and the club for him to step in as manager. I talk to him frequently and I know he is enjoying it. It was the right thing for Hearts to do. I have to go in every morning and ask Craig if there is anything I should know about.

“Craig and Neil Lennon are both intelligent guys who know how to wind each other up and everybody else for that matter. Craig frequently has that glint in his eye!

“Without question, we all know Hibs have had a fantastic season, a terrific season. They have played some good football, they have had some amazing results.

“It doesn’t make it worse for me, it’s a very competitive league, as it will be next year. Our supporters would, of course, prefer if it wasn’t that way. But I am glad Edinburgh is doing well, quite frankly.”