Describing the Pittodrie boss as a “d**k”, he insisted that Scottish football needs to start addressing officiating blunders and stop having a pop at those highlighting the all-too-frequent problems.
Levein had bemoaned the penalty calls during Hearts’ 2-0 defeat at Pittodrie on Saturday – one that went against his men and others that he felt should have been awarded to his team but weren’t – but his gripes were dismissed by McInnes, pictured, who said that such complaints were “standard with Craig and Hearts. They are always looking for penalties”.
Levein, who has had several pops at officialdom this season, and faces a disciplinary hearing on 7 January after lambasting referee Bobby Madden in the wake of a defeat by Rangers earlier this month, felt aggrieved to see Christophe Berra penalised at Pittodrie by referee John Beaton, who felt the Hearts captain had bundled Scott McKenna over in the box.
The Hearts manager was irate that there hadn’t been similar retribution when his player, Peter Haring, was barged to the ground. He also believed that Steven Naismith had been impeded in the area.
But Levein has not been the only SPFL manager to take a pop at refereeing standards this term. Asked if he was getting fed up having to criticise performances Levein responded with a take down of his managerial foe. “I get fed up with Del being a dick, eh?” he said.
“Listen, I get on well with Del. But this is the same Derek McInnes who, when I was on the phone to him three weeks ago, was crying his eyes out about the decisions that were going against him. Particularly the two old Firm decisions, the one where they got the penalty given [against them] outside the box [in the Betfred Cup final versus Celtic], which Joe Lewis saved – and the sending off of [Sam] Cosgrove at Ibrox.
“He was crying like a little baby about the decisions going against him. So I have to laugh when I hear him saying that I’m always complaining.
“He also tried to get Steven Naismith sent off, which I will remember as well. I don’t think there was anything in it. But Derek tried to get him sent off. I saw him.”
Regardless of any backlash, Levein also vowed to only stop moaning when standards start improving, saying that at the moment too many wrong decisions are impacting on the outcome of matches.
“Derek has said to me that he’s stopped complaining because you never get decisions going for you, if you complain.
“I’ve got four examples of him complaining already this season. But, if what he says is true, that shouldn’t happen. If you are complaining about something that is obvious then, rather than having a go at the person complaining, we should try to fix the problem.
“For years in Scotland, all we’ve done is sanction the people who have made complaints. But I’ll keep doing it, keep complaining about standards. In any other business, we would be looking into it, to try to make things better.”