Hearts manager Craig Levein heaped praise on Dundee counterpart Neil McCann ahead of today’s meeting at Dens Park, applauding his decision to swap the Sky Sports studio for the dugout.
Levein admitted he admired McCann’s guts getting involved in management after several years as a television pundit.
The former Tynecastle winger took charge of Dundee on an interim basis for the final five matches of last season and preserved their Premiership status before taking the job permanently.
Levein insisted other television critics didn’t have the nerve to follow in his footsteps because the studio is a far safer environment.
“I say: ‘Good on him.’ He sat in front of a television camera for a long time and he’s actually very good at it,” said the former Scotland manager.
“I just think it’s a hugely brave decision to go from that comfortable environment where you don’t really get questioned on the comments that you make. You don’t have to be in the arena competing.
“He has chosen to go from that comfortable, pretty easy lifestyle back into coaching. I think that’s really brave. Really brave.
“There are some others who sit in their ivory towers and haven’t got the balls to go down and try it. Shame on them,” laughed Levein.
“It’s not easy [being a manager]. It’s easy to sit in a TV studio and talk about something that’s happened and what he should have done, but you never have to prove anything.
“Good on Neil. I really admire him for having the balls to do it. I hope he still gets beat on Saturday, though.”
Like McCann, Levein was recently lured back into management. Although, in his case, he returned to a job he had performed for many years previously when Hearts asked him to step into the dugout from his director of football role.
“I have done this before and I’ve done it for a long time so, for me, it was an easier step to make,” he explained. “I could see that, if you’ve got the juices in you to still be involved, you should give it a go. All credit to Neil. I do admire him for doing it.”