Hearts boss Craig Levein is still on VAR path – but not with Derek McInnes

Hearts manager Craig Levein was at the meeting in Perth
Hearts manager Craig Levein was at the meeting in Perth
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Craig Levein has urged all Scottish Premiership managers to tell their clubs they want VAR introduced as swiftly as possible following Thursday’s summit with match officials.

A meeting was held at McDiarmid Park between ten top-flight bosses and referees following a spate of high-profile controversies in Scottish football in recent months.

Levein found the discussions productive and felt the overriding aspect was a widespread desire on both sides to see VAR introduced. “The most important thing in Scottish football right now is to bring VAR in,” said the Hearts manager, whose players saw a string of key decisions go against them towards the end of 2018.

“It would get rid of the current problems – which obviously manifested themselves in John Beaton being harassed recently (after the Old Firm game). I believe that VAR would stop it. Immediately.

“It might cost a little bit of money, but the cost to Scottish football, in terms of the bad publicity that is created, makes it a no-brainer for me. Absolutely, that was the mood in the room.”

Levein believes that VAR could be funded by extra revenue from the new TV deal which kicks in next year. “If you hand money out to clubs and ask for money back, it’s a problem. If you take the money off at source, then nobody misses it – particularly if we’re all getting an increase anyway. And I don’t think there is anybody, in their right mind, who could want the situation that is going on just now to continue. So VAR solves the problem. Simple as that. I don’t know what the timescales are but, in my opinion, the sooner the better. They should make it a priority. I think it is incumbent on every manager who was in that room (on Thursday) to go back to their club and say, ‘we need to get this introduced as quickly as possible’.”

Levein, meanwhile, explained that there was no lingering acrimony between himself and Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes as their paths crossed for the first time since their well-documented spat over the festive period. “We shook hands and spoke in general about things,” said Levein. “This business is emotional and Derek and I get on really well. We’ve had our issues but we shook hands and as far as I’m concerned it’s nothing now - it’s gone.”