Craig Levein: Hearts boss says David Vanecek has apologised for lack of fitness

Hearts' David Vanecek walks past manager Craig Levein after being substituted in the first half
Hearts boss Craig Levein took David Vanecek after 30 minutes against Dundee

Hearts striker David Vanecek has apologised to manager Craig Levein after he was substituted in the first half during Wednesday's loss to Dundee.

The Czech lasted just 30 minutes on his league debut at Tynecastle, with Levein unhappy with his fitness levels.

Following the game, Levein described the new arrival's display as "rubbish" and insists such harsh criticism was the right approach.

"The best time to iron out any problems is as soon as they arrive," he said.

"I don't often do it publicly but on this occasion I felt it's important that our supporters know that there's more to come from him.

"He finished in November and he hasn't done any work between then and joining us, which frustrates me.

"He apologised yesterday, he is on a programme to improve his fitness and hopefully I don't need to speak to him again.

"David accepted that he hasn't turned up in good enough physical condition, he can get fitter and we're all on the same page now."

Despite lacking match sharpness, Levein says Vanecek, 27, will be involved with the squad for Saturday's home game with St Johnstone.

"I don't hold any grudges or fall out with anybody," he said. "This group are an honest bunch, at least they know they will get the same thing consistently."

Hearts captain Christophe Berra is backing his new team-mate to bounce back, saying: "We know we've signed a good player. It's just getting him match fit and getting him ready for the Scottish game as quickly as possible.

"It's a different style of football. Dundee were really aggressive at the back and he might have got fouls for that in the Czech league. Tynecastle can be a hard place to play and when things aren't going well for you, things can be inflated."

Levein hits back at BBC pundit Stewart

Levein was also quick to brush off condemnation from BBC pundits Steven Thompson and Michael Stewart, who questioned the wisdom of Levein's methods after the 2-1 defeat to Dundee.

"That's as poor man-management as I've ever seen," said Thompson.

"It's poor management," said Stewart on the decision to start Vanecek ahead of his replacement Steven MacLean, "and to hang him out like that, that's not good".

Levein responded by saying former Hearts captain Stewart was "not intelligent enough or brave enough to try management," adding: "We'll just ignore what he says."

Meanwhile, Anthony McDonald, 17, has joined Inverness Caledonian Thistle on loan.

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