Craig Levein gives his reaction after Hearts fans stage protest calling for his head
Craig Levein is adamant his position as Hearts manager has not become untenable despite being the subject of a protest from supporters after his team slipped to the foot of the Premiership.
A 3-2 defeat at home to Motherwell left the Tynecastle side a point adrift at the bottom of the league five games into the campaign.
Fans turned on Levein during the match before several hundred gathered on the Foundation Plaza behind the main stand afterwards to call for the manager’s head. “Craig Levein, we want you to go” and “Heart of Midlothian, we’re in the wrong hands” were among the chants from supporters while a small group were seen trying to charge in the main door as the scene threatened to turn ugly.
The protest lasted until just after 5.30pm before the crowds started to disperse.
When Levein was asked if his position had become untenable after starting the campaign with just two points from a possible 15, he replied: “No. No, I don’t. I feel we’re more than capable of improving the results. The season’s just started. We’re six points off fourth place so I don’t consider that to be a huge problem for us.
“I feel I can turn it around. It’s just about winning matches, isn’t it? It’s that simple. If I didn’t think we were capable of doing that, then it’s a different conversation.”
This was the third home game league game in succession that Levein had been the subject of anger from supporters. While acknowledging the frustration of an increasingly angry fanbase, he insists he won’t allow it to detract from his focus.
“It’s just part of the job,” he said. “I’ve spoken about it a lot over the past week or so about how supporters get frustrated when the team aren’t winning, especially at home. Our supporters expect us to win all our games at home and I understand that level of expectation. My focus is just on the game - I don’t try to listen to anything else. That doesn’t help me to be able to think about the game if I’m trying to listen to what people are saying.
“It’s tough but that’s the level of club we are. Hearts are expected to win their home games in particular. We’ve got 13,000 season-ticket holders who want to see their team win. If we didn’t win, we get criticised. If we’re on a run like we’re on just now, we get criticised more. I accept that.”
Asked if he had spoken to owner Ann Budge about the situation, Levein added: “I speak to Ann regularly. We talk about results and if results aren’t good then we need to improve results. We just have normal conversations.”