The Murrayfield defeat that started Craig Levein demise at Hearts

By Hamish Carton

October 31, 2019

It’s remarkable how much football can change over the space of a year. Back in late October of last year, Craig Levein was preparing to take his in-form Hearts side to Murrayfield to take on Celtic.

The Jambos could barely have been in a better place going into the match. They were top of the league by a whopping six points – albeit having played a game more – and had a band of around 30,000 supporters about to back them at the home of Scottish rugby.

(Photo by Ewan Bootman/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

What happened next would signal the beginning of the end at Tynecastle for Levein.

Levein and Hearts didn’t recover from Murrayfield mauling

A typical swashbuckling Brendan Rodgers Celtic side swept Hearts aside in front of over 61,000 supporters in the capital on an afternoon that was more damaging for the Jambos than their beleaguered boss let on.

Hearts went on to finish sixth in the Premiership table last season. They took just 26 points from their final 28 matches, after registering 25 from ten prior to the Celtic clash.

(Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

They did enjoy some success in the Scottish Cup but again their hopes were ended by Celtic – this time in the final at Hampden.

When the Jambos started the new campaign by taking eight points from 11 matches you always felt that Levein’s days were numbered. And so, on Thursday, his departure was confirmed just days prior to this year’s Betfred Cup semi-final.

Of course it would be foolish to suggest that Celtic had any real impact on Levein’s tenure at Tynecastle. His, and his side’s, failings were down to what they did wrong rather than what other teams did right.

Yet you can’t help but feel that the 55-year-old may be cursing Celtic’s name more than any other Scottish club as he packs his bags and heads home.