Craig Levein explains why he publicly criticised Hearts striker David Vanecek

Hearts manager Craig Levein has revealed he received an apology from David Vanecek after branding the striker’s display against Dundee “rubbish”.

Friday, 25th January 2019, 11:56 am
Updated Friday, 25th January 2019, 1:25 pm
Craig Levein substituted David Vanecek after 34 minutes against Dundee

The former Scotland boss gave the frank assessment of his January signing’s display after being asked why he took the Czech striker off 34 minutes into Wednesday’s 2-1 defeat by then Ladbrokes Premiership bottom club Dundee.

And the 27-year-old will be given extra training to get him up to speed, although he could still be involved when St Johnstone visit Tynecastle on Saturday.

Levein said: “Let’s say that he finished in November and he obviously he hasn’t done any work between then and joining us, which frustrates me.

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“And the best time to iron out any problems is as soon as they arise. I felt it was really important that he knows why he under-performed the other night, and he also didn’t do enough in the Livingston game either to do what we needed to do.

“There is no point in pussy-footing round about it. People might think Scottish football is easy but it’s not, the competitive nature of matches means that you have to be fit.

“So he apologised on Thursday. He is on a programme to improve his fitness and hopefully I don’t need to speak to him again.”

Levein insisted honesty was the best policy and felt the fans had a right to know what he felt.

“There has to be a line drawn,” he said. “If there’s a problem you have to address it and as far as I’m concerned the best time to do that is immediately. David accepted he hasn’t turned up in good physical condition, he can get much fitter, and we’re all on the same page.

“I would rather that than telling him he’s doing well when he’s not. That’s the way I am with the players, at least they know they get the same thing consistently.

“There’s no sides, I don’t hold grudges or fall out with anybody, I say it as I think it is.

“I don’t often do it publicly but I felt on this occasion it was important that our supporters know there is more to come from him. I don’t want them judging him on his first couple of performances. They need to know as well that he has a long way to go before he is 100 per cent fit.”