The Sunday Post (Dundee)
‘Neilson’s the boss, not me’ Levein insists
HEARTS director of football Craig Levein insists head coach Robbie Neilson has full control over first team affairs at Tynecastle.
Levein’s role has come under scrutiny in the last week after former Hearts midfielders Michael Stewart and Gary Mackay both questioned the extent of his influence behind the scenes.
Neilson has already dismissed their concerns and former Hearts and Scotland manager Levein insists his influence does not stretch beyond his remit.
In a Q&A session carried out with fans just before Mackay and Stewart spoke out, Levein said: “It’s about experimenting and finding out what works, so what we do is let the head coach get on with his job.
“There’s no point in having Robbie in that role unless we let him manage, set out the team in the way he wants to and then learn from the successes and the mistakes.
“Robbie is head coach, he makes the decisions and he’s done a fantastic job in two seasons.
“If he wants my advice he’ll get it. Robbie is responsible for the players that come to the club.
“He identifies gaps in the squad, tells me what he needs, then we all sit down and help find them.
“We both get inundated with correspondence from agents about players but Robbie is ultimately responsible for who comes in. He’s a very astute and capable guy.
“I use my experience to help everyone in each department. Robbie, though, is the main guy who is under the most pressure due to his profile as first-team coach.
“I give him help if he needs, or wants, it.”
Explaining the areas he is responsible for, Levein said: “I run the football department and that role includes overall strategy as well as overseeing things on a day-to-day basis.
“I had to make sure we have good people in each department and I feel that we now have that.
“Robbie is in charge of the first team, Stevie Crawford is his assistant.
“Jon Daly takes the Under-20s. Karen Gibson is in charge of the medical department, plus we have doctors there too. John Murray is in charge of scouting. John Hill is our sports scientist, in charge of exercise, diet and nutrition. Roger Arnott is the Academy manager.
“Alex Threapleton is in charge of performance analysis, studying matches as well as scouting clips.
“Now I understand the role of director of football, I can look ahead to three, four years from now, what I think the club could be by then and my role in this type of development excites me.”