Why Hearts boss Craig Levein should escape Scottish FA ban

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Hearts boss Craig Levein was issued with a notice of complaint on Wednesday from the Scottish FA.

The 54-year-old faces a two-game ban for his comments following Hearts’ 2-1 defeat to Rangers at Tynecastle. He branded referee Bobby Madden’s performance “abysmal” and said it felt like Hearts were playing against 13 men.

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Levein was aggrieved with a number of decisions from the officials, namely the call not to rule out what proved to be the winning goal from Alfredo Morelos. Footage showed the Rangers striker was in a clear offside position when he netted.

Hearts manager Craig Levein faces two-game ban. Picture: SNSHearts manager Craig Levein faces two-game ban. Picture: SNS
Hearts manager Craig Levein faces two-game ban. Picture: SNS

The Scottish Football Association’s compliance officer Clare Whyte has charged the Hearts coach under SFA rule 72, which states club officials are not allowed to “criticise the decision(s) and/or performance(s) of any or all match official(s) in such a way as to indicate bias or incompetence on the part of such match officials or make remarks about such match official(s) which impinge on his character.”

Hearts and Levein are expected to strongly contest what they may feel is an unjust charge.

Levein was canny in how he shaped his comments regarding Madden and his assistants’ performance, referencing similar comments made by Hibs head coach Neil Lennon following a 4-2 defeat at Celtic.

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A key part of the Hearts’ defence should be Lennon’s thoughts on Don Robertson’s display at Celtic Park and those made by Steven Gerrard following Rangers’ opening day draw with Aberdeen.

The Ibrox side had Alfredo Morelos sent off for a kick-out at Dons defender Scott McKenna, while Gerrard was unhappy with other decisions in the match. He implied something more ingrained within Scottish football.

Neither manager was issued with a notice of complaint. For Levein to be brought in front of the SFA suggests inconsistency, something which will only be heightened if he is punished with a two-game ban.

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“And when you are playing against 12 men as well it very difficult. I thought the referee was abysmal.

“How (Filip) Benkovic doesn’t get a yellow card and (Darren) McGregor does is beyond me. He has taken (Emerson) Hyndman completely out of the game, we get a free-kick at the edge of the box, no yellow card.

“The Benkovic is borderline red for me, never mind a yellow and he gets nothing. He just took Hyndman completely out, he knew what he was doing, there was no intent to get the ball.

“It baffles me why that is not a yellow card. I am not here to get players sent off. I am just looking for the referee to do his job properly.”

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“It seems like the world is against us today. But we’ll make sure we get better for that. We’ll make sure we play better and try and put results to bed, because it looks like some more decisions will go against us as the season goes on.

“We need to try and use it to our advantage. It’s not just today, it’s been happening for a while. It’s been happening for a good while. I believe it’s been happening for seasons. That’s my opinion, just my opinion.

“I’ve watched footage. Look, I don’t think we ever get anything to go for us. Everything we have seen today is about Rangers. So someone should give me answers on that.

“Someone should give me the answers because something should have happened after that penalty. With the penalty there was no attempt to play the ball. So it’s beyond me how a card can’t be shown for that situation.

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“There was no attempt to play the ball. That’s the rules, it doesn’t matter what my opinion on it is. The rules state that if you don’t make an attempt to play the ball, you should be punished. There was no punishment.”

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