Craig Levein questions absence of Hearts star as he bemoans lack of Tynecastle leaders
Craig Levein has questioned Peter Haring’s continued absence from the Hearts midfield as the Scottish Championship leaders struggle to improve on recent form during their league meeting with Queen of the South.
Fresh off the embarrassing 2-1 defeat to Brora Rangers in the Scottish Cup, the Tynecastle side found themselves 2-0 down within 22 minutes to Allan Johnston’s visitors as supporters protested the running of the club outside the stadium.
Mihai Popescu, at fault for the opener, atoned for his earlier sins with a goal that brought Robbie Neilson’s side back into the match, but it remains a far cry from meeting expectations for the capital club.
Levein, who was director of football when Neilson was first brought to the club, pointed to a lack of leadership on the park as a huge issue as he wondered about Haring’s place among the substitutes.
The Austrian has barely featured under Neilson since being substituted at half-time in an away loss to Dundee at the beginning of January. He’s since made just two appearances: a late cameo in the return match against Dundee earlier this month (where he was sent off) and a starting berth against Brora, albeit in defence.
The manager who brought him to Edinburgh reckons he’s exactly the type of player Neilson should be leaning on as he looks to arrest the team's slump.
Levein said on BBC Sportsound: “It’s very difficult these days to find someone who will pull up others on the park for errors.
“There’s just not enough leaders in this Hearts team, for me. It’s been a problem for a good while, in all honesty.
“I’m looking around the pitch and the body language and I don’t see anybody trying to get their team-mates going.
“I see Peter Haring on the bench and I look at this team and I think, ‘how the hell can Peter Haring not get in this team?’
“He’s exactly what they’re looking for: someone who is strong, has leadership qualities, he’ll tackle, he’s a good passer of the ball, can score from set-pieces. He needs to be in the middle of this field giving Hearts that strength and steel, and a positive mental attitude that they’re needing at this moment in time.”