Hearts are still coming to terms with the news that manager Craig Levein was admitted to hospital yesterday morning due to an unforeseen health issue.
The club released a statement at 10:45am yesterday informing that the 53-year-old was “now recovering well” in hospital having received medical treatment.
Given the seriousness and sensitivity of Levein’s condition, the club were not willing to divulge any more details than those mentioned in their communique.
However, it is understood Levein remained in hospital last night and was reported to have been sitting up, talking to friends and family. There is no clear indication of how long his period of convalescence will last.
The club statement read: “Heart of Midlothian Football Club can confirm that manager Craig Levein was taken to hospital this morning.
“Having received medical treatment, Craig is now recovering well in hospital.
“No further comment will be made at this time and the club asks that Craig and his family’s privacy be respected, as we all wish him a speedy recovery.”
Already the club’s director of football, Levein returned for his second stint in the Tynecastle dugout last August following Ian Cathro’s sacking.
He had been in good spirits less than 48 hours earlier after watching his side maintain their flawless start to the Premiership season with a hard-fought 1-0 victory at Kilmarnock.
The win keeps Hearts three points clear of Celtic at the summit following the opening three games of the league campaign.
Assistant manager Austin MacPhee oversaw yesterday’s training session with a shocked squad and will continue to be responsible for the preparations, with the help of coaches Jon Daly, Liam Fox and Paul Gallacher, for Saturday’s visit of top-flight newcomers St Mirren.
Levein’s enforced break comes at one of the busiest times for a football manager, with the transfer window closing on Friday.
However, Manchester United left-back Demi Mitchell’s proposed loan return from Old Trafford is still heading towards a successful conclusion and could even be announced as early as today.
Despite having already made 14 summer signings, Levein was hoping to recruit a further four. As well as Mitchell, inset, an experienced centre-half to ease the loss of captain Christophe Berra for an estimated six months was also among his priorities.
A move for MK Dons striker Osman Sow, who impressed at the club for 18 months until 2016, is in the balance, while Levein is also keen to enlist a left-sided player.
In his dual role as team manager and director of football, Levein’s all-encompassing remit, naturally, demands much of his time.
The former Scotland boss also oversees the club’s youth academy and regularly speaks of his pride at seeing the club’s youngsters’ progress.
In an interview in December 2016 with the Foundation of Hearts, Levein gave an insight into how he dedicates himself to the club.
Levein, who was appointed director of football in May 2014 as Budge picked up the pieces from the club’s plunge into administration, said: “For the last two and a half years I’ve not had any hobbies or interests, I’ve been working here full-time [as director of football]. I used to play a bit of golf, I don’t so much now.
“I’ve got two dogs and I’ve got a feeling of peace and quiet when I get out walking. That’s the thing I do most.
“It’s an exciting time at Hearts and I want to make sure that everything is running properly and heading in the right direction so I’m 24/7 just now trying to make sure this project works.”
Levein made 401 appearances for Hearts as a player until 1996 when a serious knee injury ended his career. He made the move into management with Cowdenbeath a year later before taking on the reins in Gorgie for a four-year spell from 2000.
Levein has also managed Leicester City, Dundee United and Raith Rovers.
Hearts’ city rivals Hibernian were among those who offered their support yesterday. Hibs tweeted: “We’re glad to hear that he is doing okay, hopefully it’s a speedy recovery. Get well soon, Craig!”
A Foundation of Hearts spokesperson said: “Very best wishes to Craig from all Foundation members. Get well soon.”