Hearts director of football Craig Levein has flatly denied the suggestion that he has influence over first-team matters, calling the stories of note passing “a lot of s***e”
The former Hearts manager has backed Ian Cathro to make a success of things next season after a tough first six months in Gorgie.
Cathro has had to deal with more scrutiny than the average Ladbrokes Premiership manager, with much of the intrigue sparked by his unusual route to the dug-out.
His miserable record has hardly helped but there is another level of interest added to the mix by Levein’s match-day presence.
The former Scotland boss is charged with shaping the football operation at Tynecastle, while Cathro is tasked with day-to-day running off the first-team.
However the sight of Levein passing messages down to the young coach from the directors box has led to whispers about who is really calling the shots in the dressing room - something Levein was keen to shoot down.
He said: “I just laughed when I saw those comments. There were never any notes passed, trust me. That’s not true.
“From day one with Robbie the exact same thing happened at every match and I just laugh when people all of a sudden make it a thing. It’s part of the baggage you’ve got to carry if you’re not winning matches. But it is a lot of s***e.
“Ian’s tough. He’s been through a lot of things in his life that have been uncomfortable. He moved abroad at an early age, didn’t speak the language, he had to learn that. He’s had to get players at top clubs to trust him.
“The thing about here is the players like him. They like him, he’s great with them. I’ve got high hopes for him.
“For him to be a real success here we need to give him time and let him understand what this is all about. Then we can let him go and play how he wants to play, but we need to fix some other things first.”