Craig Levein expects Angus Beith to excel at Hearts as coach and gives Craig Wighton injury update
Hearts manager Craig Levein believes Angus Beith will be driven to maximise his coaching potential after being forced to retire from playing aged 23.
Inverness Caledonian Thistle drew 1-1 with Hearts at Tynecastle Park last night in a benefit match for the former midfielder, who played for both clubs before a hip problem curtailed his career in April.
Levein stressed that being robbed of his playing days can spur Beith on as he develops his coaching skills at the Riccarton youth academy.
“I retired early through injury and got into coaching a few years before I should have done,” said the former Scotland defender. “It can help spur you on and make you more successful. I want to thank all the supporters who came along to give Angus a good send-off.
“It’s a sad day for somebody his age to have to retire. He made a lovely speech after the game and is looking forward to the next stage in his life. He is coaching in our academy with the under-12s. He is a very bright young guy and has a positive outlook.”
Beith received a pre-match guard of honour but refused the opportunity to play to avoid “torturing” himself. He thanked both Hearts and Inverness for their support.
“It was a great night. I’m extremely grateful to the two clubs and I’m overwhelmed with the support from everybody who came along,” he said. “It felt a bit unnatural getting a guard of honour, but it was nice going out there for one last time.
“It was emotional. I didn’t want to play, that would have been like teasing myself. It’s done for me and even if I played five minutes it would make me miss football more. I’ve called time and I didn’t want to torture myself.
“You hear a lot of athletes saying adversity makes them stronger and can propel them on to good things. Hopefully that’s what happens to me so I can move on and have a right good go at coaching. I hope to have that extra burning desire because I didn’t do what I wanted on the playing side. I want to do that and more in coaching.”
Levein had to withdraw striker Craig Wighton early in the match after a knee knock. “I’m hoping it’s nothing too serious. He tried to continue but there is a wee bit of fluid in it, which can happen,” said the manager.
Anthony McDonald put Hearts 1-0 ahead shortly afterwards but Inverness goalkeeper Mark Ridgers – a former Tynecastle employee – denied his old club with a series of excellent saves throughout the evening. Mitchell Curry then capitalised late on by forcing home the equaliser from James Keatings’ corner.