Craig Levein: Steve Clarke ‘quite right’ to talk about Rangers fans’ abuse

Hearts boss Craig Levein has praised Kilmarnock counterpart Steve Clarke for standing up to the Ibrox bigots.

Craig Levein has thrown his support behind Steve Clarke. Picture: SNS Group
Craig Levein has thrown his support behind Steve Clarke. Picture: SNS Group

Chants of “sad Fenian b******” could be heard echoing around the stadium as Clarke’s side crashed to a 5-0 William Hill Scottish Cup fifth-round replay hammering from Rangers on Wednesday.

Clarke acknowledged the abuse by aiming a thumbs-up at the home support but could barely contain his anger in the post-match press conference, accusing the Gers support of living in “the Dark Ages”.

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Levein has now backed his fellow boss for refusing to accept the sectarian flak.

He said: “The fact you’re a manager of an opposition football club gives nobody the licence to do those sorts of things.

“I’ve talked about this in the past and I think it’s a societal problem. How do we stop it? I don’t know.

“The unfortunate thing is that it is people who are doing this and it’s football that’s getting tarnished.

“It’s not just sectarian abuse. There are other things shouted at matches that are just horrendous. Maybe it’s the crowd mentality and they think they won’t get caught.”

Conceding to being abused himself, Levein added: “Every manager gets abuse. Just because I’ve got a double XL top on doesn’t mean you’re allowed to shout names at me, which has happened in the past a lot of times.

“A lot of the times you just wear the abuse but Steve has got to the point last night where he is fed up with it and he’s quite right to come out and talk about it.

“But I honestly don’t know the answer to how we stop it.”