Craig Levein vows not to make 'horrendous mistake' as new St Johnstone boss reveals Hearts experience he has learned from
Craig Levein will not make the “horrendous mistake” of taking on too much at St Johnstone after resuming his managerial career at McDiarmid Park.
The former Scotland boss has signed a contract with the cinch Premiership’s bottom side until May 2026. Levein has left his role as club adviser at Highland League outfit Brechin City and brought with him Glebe Park manager Andy Kirk as his assistant. The 59-year-old was at one point director of football and manager at Hearts before he left those roles in 2019 and he succeeds Steven MacLean, who left the Perth club last week.
Speaking at McDiarmid Park, Levein revealed he missed the “the cut and thrust” of football management but will take a new approach to the job which will involve more delegation. He said: “What I realised at my latter spell at Hearts is trying to do two jobs is extremely difficult, that’s one thing I have learned. The reason I brought Andy with me is he can take some of the load, mainly the day-to-day coaching and give me the chance to spend what energy I have in areas that are the most important.
“I keep talking about having the energy to cope with the demands of the job and I did think that coming into a role in the Premiership and trying to do everything again would just be a horrendous mistake. So I have Alec (Cleland, first-team coach) here who knows the club and players and Hinshie (head of goalkeeping, Craig Hinchliffe) here as well, who is similar, and then with Andy and myself, I feel that we can split whatever duties there are so that everyone is doing what they are good at. That is the intention.”
Levein, whose previous clubs also include Dundee United and Leicester, stressed 44-year-old former Northern Ireland international Kirk’s responsibilities will be significant. Ahead of a “tough” Premiership game against Motherwell on Tuesday night, he said: “His understanding of tactics is extremely good and the way he had Brechin playing, if we can replicate that, which is our aim – and we do have the players here to do that – then improving players and improving the overall team is eminently possible.
“I have been working with Andy for the last two or three years. He has his own ideas of how the team plays and the reason I am bringing him with me is we are going to play the same style. I have a huge amount of respect for him, a young coach making his way in the game and my job will be to manage everything, manage him doing the coaching and I want to give him that responsibility.
“He has got to the position where he has a clear idea of how he wants to play the game. We will try to play football. A lot of time it depends on your opponents and we will be flexible and try, if we can, to entertain.”