Hearts: Craig Levein's handling of Vanecek 'as poor as I've seen' - Steven Thompson

Hearts manager Craig Levein and David Vanecek
Craig Levein took David Vanecek after 30 minutes against Dundee

Former Scotland striker Steven Thompson says Craig Levein's public criticism of new signing David Vanecek is the worst piece of man-management he has heard.

The Hearts boss described the new arrival's display as "rubbish" after the striker was substituted 30 minutes into Wednesday's 2-1 defeat by Dundee.

"To suffer the indignity of being whipped off the first place is humiliating enough," Thompson said.

"Talk about man-management. That's as poor man-management as I've ever seen."

The 27-year-old had signed a pre-contract agreement to join Hearts in the summer but had to wait until he was out of contract with Teplice in his Czech homeland before moving to Tynecastle.

His debut in Saturday's 1-0 Scottish Cup win over Livingston was his first match in five weeks and Levein suggested he will "need to do a hell of a lot of work to get himself to the fitness levels".

"Why on earth would you start a player who is not fit enough?" Thompson asked on BBC Radio Scotland's Sportsound. "If he's not fit enough, start Stevie MacLean."

Thompson compared Levein's comments unfavourably with Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson, who simply said he would work on Ross McCormack's fitness after the on-loan Aston Villa was substituted at half-time during his first game back with the Fir Park club.

"There are hundreds of times I've merited criticism and I've been told it privately," former Rangers and Burnley striker Thompson said. "That's an entirely different matter."

'He's got to be leaner than he is'

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Highlights: Hearts 1-2 Dundee

However, former Hearts full-back Allan Preston suggested that such public criticism would not have been unusual in his own playing days under Jim McLean at Dundee United.

"I was seven years at Dundee United and we would be lambasted for a poor training session - and sometimes lambasted for a good one," he said.

"Craig's honest and speaks from the heart."

Preston thought Levein would have been annoyed that Vanecek joined Hearts short of fitness.

"Yes, he's not going to be match sharp, but he's got to be leaner than he is," he said. "If you follow him on social media, as I did, he wanted to come and be the top goalscorer in the Premiership.

"If you're going to talk the talk, you've got to walk the walk."

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