Craig Levein is aware of speculation linking other managers with his job but the under-pressure Hearts boss says that reading about hypothetical successors is nowhere near as unsettling as having to fend them off himself.
“That’s the world I live in or the world I choose to live in anyway and it is not as bad as me getting calls from agents directly, asking if someone can have my job! That has happened more than a couple of times.”
The embarrassing faux pas is a consequence of the former Scotland boss enjoying a dual role at the Tynecastle club and he says it has caught out a few blundering managerial representatives.
“They phone me as director of football and it’s been happening for a year or something like that. I think initially they didn’t realise I was the manager as well. Recently, I think they just feel that if they get in first, then they might have a chance!”
The Gorgie gaffer has been the subject of fans’ protests in recent weeks following a disappointing start to the league season.
No wins from five sees Hearts sitting bottom of the Premiership table and victory in the first Edinburgh derby of the season, at Easter Road, tomorrow, is considered a necessity, with the League Cup quarter-final against Aberdeen following on Wednesday.
Hibernian manager Paul Heckingbottom is also under threat and Levein accepts there is a perceived narrative surrounding the capital head-to-head, with predictions that defeat could yet cost the losing manager his job.
Levein does appear to have been afforded more time to get things right, though, after club chairman Ann Budge issued a vote of confidence earlier in the week. Making it clear that despite the fact she has also “fielded numerous unsolicited phone calls from agents”, she maintained that the board remain behind Levein.
“Ann does her own thing and contrary to what people think, I don’t have any influence on that,” said Levein, who has been accused of having too much sway thanks to his dual roles. “We talk every day or every second day, depending on what has happened on each individual day, just to keep her up to speed.
“But I don’t think there is one time in the five years that I have known her when she has had a knee-jerk reaction to anything. So, [the statement] doesn’t surprise me in the slightest and my big thing now is to show that her faith in me, the players and backroom staff was justified.”