Hearts’ Craig Levein ready to argue his case over criticism of referee

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Hearts manager Craig Levein will appear at Hampden in person today to defend himself against a Scottish FA charge over his criticism of referee Bobby Madden.

SFA compliance officer Clare Whyte raised disciplinary proceedings regarding an alleged breach of rule 72, that no team official shall “criticise the match officials in such a way as to indicate bias or incompetence or make remarks about such match official(s) which impinge on his character” following comments made in the aftermath of Hearts’ narrow 2-1 defeat by Rangers on 
2 December.

Craig Levein will appear at Hampden today in a bid to clear his name. Picture: Michael Gillen.

Craig Levein will appear at Hampden today in a bid to clear his name. Picture: Michael Gillen.

Levein was furious with Madden and the assistant referees’ performance in a game that was settled by Alfredo Morelos scoring from an offside position.

The former Scotland manager also claimed he would not face any punishment after Hibs head coach Neil Lennon made similar remarks in the wake of his side’s defeat by Celtic last October.

Speaking after the match, Levein said: “I read a quote from Neil Lennon a few weeks ago from when they went to Celtic Park and he said they were playing against 12 men, and that’s how I feel. Actually, it was 13 we were playing against.”

After his team’s 4-2 loss to Celtic, Lennon said: “We knew we were playing against 12 men – that makes it very difficult. I thought the referee was abysmal.”

Levein will appear at today’s hearing in person in a bid to clear his name ahead of flying out to Spain for his side’s winter training camp.

Speaking about the SFA charge, Levein said: “I vowed that I would never find myself in this position again.

“I don’t like having a go at officials and I do believe they are much better than they used to be.

“But if I think there is something blatantly wrong then I almost feel like I need to speak for every Hearts supporter because nobody gets the opportunity to say anything.

“So, I end up saying more than I should or trying to be smart and end up getting in trouble.

“But the facts are – and I think everybody would agree – some of the decisions in Scottish football recently have been horrendous. They really have.”