Craig Levein: Giving Celtic guard of honour was the right thing to do

By David Walton

May 19, 2019

Hearts manager Craig Levein has stated that giving Celtic a guard of honour was the “right thing to do”.

It comes just a week after Rangers refused to give Celtic the same guard last Sunday. The Ibrox club decided not to show the classy gesture, but Hearts weren’t of the same mind-set.

Some eyebrows could be raised by the fact the Jambos didn’t applaud the Hoops onto the pitch. Normally, that would be common practice with a guard of honour. But with the Scottish Cup final coming next week, Levein didn’t want it to be too friendly.

Craig Levein showed respect to Neil Lennon’s Celtic today (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Speaking to Sky Sports Football‘s live broadcast of the game (19th May, 14:30), Levein praised Celtic’s title win and touched on the guard of honour.

“It was a reasonable performance. We created chances but unfortunately Celtic created more than we did. I hoped we could hold onto the position we were in at 1-1 but all credit to Celtic they win the league again so its their day today.

“It was the right thing to do. We don’t need to be best pals or anything, but Celtic deserved it.”

Take note Gers

Hearts likely won’t get the credit they deserve for this. They didn’t have to do it, and considering it wasn’t even our first game since becoming Champions, they had a perfectly valid excuse not to.

Lennon has guided Celtic to their eighth consecutive Premiership title (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

But they did it. And they showed some real class in putting rivalry aside to do so. Granted, there was no applause, but so what? It was the gesture that counted, and Hearts showed that they had the decency to recognise Celtic’s achievement this season.

Rangers didn’t have the same mark of respect for Celtic last weekend. They might’ve beaten Neil Lennon’s men on the day, but a guard of honour recognises a team’s success over the entire season.

So fair play to Levein and Hearts for their gesture today. It put Rangers’ actions last week to shame, and shows that some decency and respect are still alive in football.

Levein’s side showed a real mark of respect to Celtic today, before losing 2-1 to the champions (Alan Rennie/Action Plus via Getty Images)

Hearts and Celtic are hardly the best of pals, as Levein hints at. But that doesn’t mean you can’t accept when your rivals have outperformed you. Maybe if the same situation occurs next season, Rangers will change their minds.

We won’t hold our breath either.