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Ann Budge hits out at media treatment of Ian Cathro and insists Craig Levein isn’t picking the Hearts team

Ann Budge (SNS Group)
Ann Budge (SNS Group)

HEARTS chairwoman Ann Budge has insisted Craig Levein does not pick the team as she hit out at media treatment of head coach Ian Cathro.

Cathro recently expressed frustration and bemusement over the furore sparked by Levein’s appearance in the dressing room at half-time during their defeat by Aberdeen, after the director of football was spotted passing notes to the 30-year-old during the game.

Cathro explained that he had asked the former Scotland boss to look out for certain aspects of the match from his position in the stand and Budge felt the need to reiterate the points in a lengthy update to supporters.

Hearts manager Ian Cathro with Ann Budge (Andrew Milligan/PA Wire)
Hearts manager Ian Cathro with Ann Budge (Andrew Milligan/PA Wire)

Budge, who stated the club budgeted for a fourth-placed Ladbrokes Premiership finish, hit out at a “ludicrous” media focus on the club since Cathro’s appointment as replacement for Robbie Neilson and claimed his remarks had regularly been “sensationalised”.

She added: “Craig holds his position because of his vast footballing experience, which means his opinion and advice can be extremely valuable. That said, he no more does Ian’s job than he does Roger Arnott’s job as head of the academy or indeed mine, as chief executive.

“For the avoidance of doubt, Ian picks the team as did Robbie when he was here. Any input from Craig whether in note form from a vantage point in the stand or in any other form is given purely to assist Ian’s decision-making.”

Meanwhile, Budge revealed Hearts would use Tynecastle for home games in July, whether those be in the Europa League or Betfred Cup.

Craig Levein
Craig Levein

Discussions were held with the Scottish Rugby Union over staging games at BT Murrayfield while the new main stand is built but planned pitch improvements made that impossible. Instead, Hearts will play in front of three stands and are optimistic their first few Ladbrokes Premiership games of next season will all be away following a request to the other clubs.

Budge added: “We have, however, an agreement in principle, to play any Ladbrokes Premier League home fixtures at BT Murrayfield, in the event that our building programme runs late.”

The new main stand is due to be ready on September 9.