Craig Levein brands David Vanecek’s Dundee display ‘rubbish’ and urges Hearts striker to get fit

Craig Levein did not seek to varnish the truth about new signing David Vanecek’s performance in Wednesday night’s 2-1 defeat to Dundee, branding it “rubbish”.

David Vanecek was substituted after just half an hour, with Craig Levein branding his display 'rubbish'. Picture: SNS Group

The Hearts striker was only making his second start for his new club having arrived during the transfer window but was hauled off after 32 minutes to be replaced by Steven MacLean.

Levein refused to make too many allowances for a player who is clearly short of match fitness. The Hearts manager had no compunction about taking such extreme action as substituting him with little over half an hour played. Vanecek had also already been booked for a late aerial challenge on Genseric Kusunga. Levein described the striker’s 32 minutes on the pitch as “unacceptable” and suggested he will not be made available for selection until his fitness improves.

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“I thought he was rubbish,” said Levein. “He wasn’t playing well, wasn’t holding ball up. He then got himself booked and I thought it was last thing we needed, him to get another challenge and get himself sent off. We decided to take him off”

“He’ll need to do a hell of a lot of work to get himself to the fitness he needs to be at. That’s what he will be doing. Okay, I accept that’s two games after five weeks without a game, but it’s still not acceptable. 
“He has a lot of work to do.”

Levein was also withering about the Hearts performance in general. He said his side were lucky to go in at half-time on level terms after Kusunga’s opener was cancelled out by Jesse Curran’s own goal, after Olly Lee’s free-kick deflected in off the top of his head.

“The first half, we were terrible,” he said. “When we did go forward, we gave it away, fell over the ball, didn’t compete well enough. We were lucky to go in 1-1 at half-time.”

Dundee manager Jim McIntyre praised his side for a deserved victory. The Dens Park side have now lifted themselves off the bottom.

“It’s right up there,” he said, with references to best performance since he succeeded Neil McCann in October. “Scoring the first goal was so important. There were a lot of strong performances, I would’t want to single anyone out.”