Craig Levein says Hearts should accept Championship trophy and gives take on Robbie Neilson criticism
Hearts should accept the Championship trophy despite a fan-led campaign to 'leave it on the stand' according to former manager Craig Levein.
The Tynecastle club were crowned second tier champions on Saturday after both Raith Rovers and Dundee dropped points following the league leaders’ 6-0 win over Alloa Athletic on Friday night.
Robbie Neilson and his players are due to be presented with the silverware and medals at their final home match of the campaign against Inverness on Saturday, April 24, providing the Highlanders are not involved in the Scottish Cup quarter-finals that weekend.
Levein stressed that he shares supporters' grievances over how the club’s demotion from the top flight was handled by the SPFL, but stressed that the players should take the opportunity to mark the title win properly.
He said: “I agree that the club has been treated dismally by the footballing authorities and I've spoken about that on numerous occasions.
“But I think it’s the wrong approach. If I’m Andy Irving who’s won his first trophy in football, I want to stand up, take that trophy and enjoy it. That’s a memory. You can’t just toss memories aside.
“Of course it’s an opportunity to make a statement but I think that the other side of it is more important – the harmony in the club and the feeling that will be engendered by being together and everybody celebrating."
Levein also agreed that the recent criticism of Neilson has been excessive after the current Hearts boss aimed a “ram it down their throat” comment at critical pundits.
He told BBC Sportsound: “Of course it was over the top. It always is. That’s just what happens.
“Robbie’s lost credit in the bank from some of the fans and I’m not so sure how long it will take to get that back.
“I did say that getting over the line was the most important thing that mattered. Yes, eventually they’ve stumbled over but if I'm Robbie and I’ve taken the flak having done what my remit was, I would be annoyed.
“But he’s not really having a go, is he? He’s just having a little jibe and a little poke at the people who have been critical of him."