Skip to main content

Hearts boss Levein gives Scotland warning before clash with Clarke’s Kilmarnock

Steve Clarke is unlikely to get a ringing endorsement about the prospect of managing Scotland if he speaks to former national team head coach Craig Levein after their clubs meet on Saturday.

Kilmarnock manager Clarke is among the favourites to succeed Alex McLeish and the 55-year-old recently admitted he was keen to manage his country at some stage in his career.

But Levein – who led Scotland for almost three years until November 2012 – issued a cautionary message.

“It’s a difficult job for whoever gets it,” the Hearts manager said. “We have some really good players but I don’t know if the players we have match the expectations. I’m not sure about that.

“It’s so different, the downtime between get-togethers, for me, someone who is used to coaching every single day, is quite difficult. But I don’t need to worry about that any more.”

Clarke’s pressing concern is to get Kilmarnock into Europe while Hearts are looking to build up some momentum ahead of the William Hill Scottish Cup final against Celtic.

Levein drafted teenagers Connor Smith and Harry Cochrane into his team for Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Hibernian as well as bringing Ryan Edwards off the bench for a debut, and cup final places are well and truly up for grabs.

“We had a fairly settled team at the beginning of the season before we got any injuries,” Levein said. “Since then we have chopped and changed a little bit, not just with personnel but with systems as well, in an attempt to get back on track and get our form going in the right direction.

“There are still three games left before the cup final so there’s definitely room for people to stake a claim for a cup final place, because I haven’t picked a team for the cup final.”

Peter Haring is unlikely to be risked at Tynecastle on Saturday despite an injection improving a groin injury.

“It’s much better but I don’t want to push him this week and the thing flares up again and then being a doubt about next week’s match,” Levein said.