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Page last updated at 12:52 GMT, Thursday, 17 December 2009

Who is Craig Levein?

Dundee United manager Craig Levein

Craig Levein has replaced George Burley as the man in charge of the Scotland national team.

Levein's CV boasts many years' service as a defender for Hearts, 16 caps for Scotland and a management record covering five clubs.

He is clearly passionate about football and is generally held in high regard by fans, pundits and fellow managers in Scotland.

Yet the former Dundee United manager has a reputation for confrontations with people who run the game and could be considered to be an anti-establishment figure, ill at ease with the so-called "blazers" at the Scottish Football Association.

BBC Scotland casts an eye over his playing and managerial career.

Craig Levein
Levein was capped 16 times for Scotland during his playing career

Born in Dunfermline in 1964, Craig William Levein attended Inverkeithing High School and commenced his playing career as a defender with Cowdenbeath in 1981, making 60 appearances for the Fife club.

In 1983, he joined Hearts for £30,000 and was named SPFA Young Player of the Year two years later.

Despite suffering a serious knee injury against the club's city rivals, Hibernian, he went on to become the first player to retain the award.

He made his Scotland debut in a 1-0 win against Argentina, the first of 16 caps for his country, and played in the 1990 World Cup finals, not long after making his comeback from cruciate ligament surgery that kept him out of regular first-team action for almost three years.

His last match was in 1995 against Dunfermline at Tynecastle, where he suffered another knee injury.

Levein never recovered sufficiently to star for Hearts again and, at an emotional media conference, he announced his retirement in 1997 after more than 400 appearances for the Edinburgh club.

In the most controversial moment of his playing days, Levein was handed a 12-game ban after breaking fellow Hearts team-mate Graeme Hogg's nose during a pre-season friendly against Raith Rovers.

Craig Levein
Levein took over the reins at Cowdenbeath in 1998

Levein may have lost his battle to play the game but not his appetite to coach and he remained at Tynecastle for 18 months to instruct the youth players, along with Paul Hegarty and Peter Houston, his current assistant at Dundee United.

His first managerial appointment was at Cowdenbeath, who he guided to the top of the Third Division in 2000 before returning to Tynecastle as Hearts head coach following the departure of Jim Jefferies, who had been his boss in his latter days at the club.

Levein's career at Hearts was marked by a League Cup semi-final defeat by Rangers and a win over Celtic in April 2003 that contributed to the Hoops losing the title on the final day of the season to their Glasgow rivals and that earned the club a Uefa Cup slot.

His tenure at Tynecastle also set the tone for his long-standing battles with the SFA, including claims of incompetence by referee Dougie McDonald in 2003, which landed him a fine of £1,000 for his comments.

Levein refused to pay, causing the penalty to be doubled twice and a four-month touchline ban to be added by SFA chief executive David Taylor.

Unmoved, Levein went to the Court of Session and won an interim interdict against the SFA (potentially his new employers) when Lord MacFadyen ruled that the increases in the punishment were unlawful. Hearts paid the original amount of the fine - £1,000 - for Levein.

In 2004, Hearts secured another third-place finish in the Scottish Premier League under Levein and reached the group stages of the Uefa Cup before he accepted the top job at Championship side Leicester City in November of that year.

His spell at the Walkers Stadium was not a success, though, as the Foxes failed to threaten promotion rivals and he was sacked after 72 matches in charge with the club in the bottom three in the division.

Leicester executive director Tim Davies said at the time that Levein had managed to achieve the club's long-term objectives in terms of reducing the squad's average age and operating on a more sound financial footing.

However, the club's perilous league position he described as "unacceptable" and the axe fell on Levein and his backroom staff Houston and Kenny Black.

Levein returned to Scotland in September 2006, taking up the role of Raith Rovers manager on a non-contract basis but quickly moved to take over at Dundee United after Craig Brewster left the Tannadice club, ending the season in ninth place.

Craig Levein
Levein has been outspoken against refereeing performances

Levein struck up a special friendship and working relationship with club chairman Eddie Thompson, who had fired five managers before Levein's arrival, and was appointed to the board when he became director of football.

The Terrors contested the League Cup final with Rangers in March 2008, losing on penalties after a 2-2 draw at Hampden.

A fifth-place finish in the SPL followed another tirade at Scottish refereeing, earning him a £5,000 fine for criticism levied at Mike McCurry, who Levein claimed had "bottled" major decisions following United's 3-1 defeat away to Rangers on 10 May.

He told BBC Scotland after the match: "If it's not a level playing field and if we don't get the decisions - blatant, important decisions - then what is the point of turning up?

"I thought Mike McCurry had the balls to stand up and give these decisions."

In the 2008/09 League Cup semi-final, United lost a dramatic 11-10 penalty shoot-out with Celtic.

This season, United have performed well, sitting in fourth place in the SPL, having lost just two league games from 15.


As Scotland's fortunes failed to improve under George Burley, the SFA parted company with the former Ipswich manager in November and began their search for a new man to lead the country's national team.

Levein quickly emerged as the leading candidate, his achievements in improving the lot of United and his opinions on how the game should be played having earned him admirers in the SFA.

Now that he has been appointed, his main objective will be clear: to lead Scotland to their first major finals since the 1998 World Cup.

But previous clashes with the SFA suggest this could be an uneasy marriage.

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see also
Levein appointed Scotland manager
23 Dec 09 |  Football
Levein's great challenge
23 Dec 09 |  Football
Scotland boss 'should tour clubs'
22 Dec 09 |  Football
Brown scoffs Levein boredom fears
21 Dec 09 |  Football
Dundee Utd want 500k for Levein
18 Dec 09 |  Football
Obituary: Eddie Thompson
15 Oct 08 |  Dundee Utd
Levein fined for referee outburst
05 Aug 08 |  Dundee Utd
Dundee Utd 2-2 Rangers
16 Mar 08 |  Scottish Cups
Levein signs on with title dream
02 Dec 08 |  Dundee Utd
Dundee Utd unveil Levein as boss
30 Oct 06 |  Dundee Utd
Raith appoint Levein as manager
05 Sep 06 |  Raith
Levein and Leicester part company
25 Jan 06 |  Leicester
Leicester appoint Levein as boss
29 Oct 04 |  Football
Hearts unveil Levein as new coach
01 Dec 00 |  Heart of Midlothian

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