|Full name||Craig William Levein|
|Date of birth||22 October 1964|
|Place of birth||Dunfermline, Scotland|
|Height||1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)|
|1983–1997||Heart of Midlothian||326||(15)|
|2000–2004||Heart of Midlothian|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).
Craig William Levein (born 22 October 1964 in Dunfermline) is a Scottish former professional footballer and is a former manager of the Scotland national team, after leaving in 2012. During his playing career he played for Cowdenbeath and Heart of Midlothian. He won 16 caps for Scotland and was part of his country's 1990 World Cup squad in Italy.
As a youth, Levein attended Inverkeithing High School, where he was in the football team alongside another future Scottish international footballer, Gordon Durie. His early football career saw him turn out for Dalgety Bay, Leven Royals and Inverkeithing under-16s. At the age of 15, however, he gave up football for a year, only resuming when his brother, who played for junior club Lochore Welfare invited him to training there. Levein subsequently signed for Lochore and after trials with several senior clubs he finally joined Cowdenbeath in 1981.
Levein quickly established himself in the first team at Central Park and soon became a target for larger clubs than Cowdenbeath.
In 1983 he moved to Heart of Midlothian for a fee of £40,000 and soon found himself a regular place in the Hearts first team. Levein won the SPFA Young Player of the Year award in 1985 and in 1986 became the first player to retain the title. 1986 was the season when Hearts chased a league and cup double. In the league they were minutes away from lifting the title before goals in the last 10 minutes of the season by Albert Kidd gave Hearts their first league defeat in 31 games. It was enough to knock Hearts off the top of the table and hand the title to Celtic. Levein and his team mates lost 3-0 the week after in the Scottish Cup final against Alex Ferguson managed Aberdeen.
1986 brought further woe for the young Levein when he picked up a serious knee injury in a reserve game against Hibernian. The injury was to change his life. He had a recurrence of the injury in 1988 when he collapsed unchallenged in a game against Rangers and spent a second year out of the game. In 1997 he was forced to retire from the game through knee injury after making 401 appearances for Hearts.
It was not just injuries that kept Levein from playing during his time at Hearts; he was once given a 12-game ban after punching, and breaking the nose of, Hearts teammate Graeme Hogg during a pre-season friendly against Raith Rovers.
He made his Scotland debut in March 1990, a 1–0 win against reigning world champions, Argentina, at Hampden Park and played well enough to earn a place in Scotland's 1990 World Cup squad. Levein won 16 caps for the Scotland national team.
Coaching and managerial career
After being forced into retirement as a player, Levein had coaching positions at Hearts and at Livingston. In November 1997 he was appointed as manager of Cowdenbeath and turned a struggling team into one that could challenge for promotion. Cowdenbeath were promoted in 2001, but Levein had left in December 2000 to take over as manager at Hearts.
His time in charge of Hearts was highly successful, where he guided them to third place in the SPL in two successive seasons and thus into European competition. He was the first manager to take Hearts into Europe in successive seasons since the 1960s.
His impressive record in Scotland caught the attention of Leicester City, who appointed Levein as manager on 29 October 2004. However after a poor start to the 2005–06 season, which left the club languishing third from bottom in the Championship relegation zone, he was sacked as manager on 25 January 2006.
Levein was appointed as manager of his boyhood heroes, Scottish Second Division club Raith Rovers, on 5 September 2006, on a non-contract basis. However, after Dundee United parted company with Craig Brewster, Levein left his non-contract role at Raith Rovers to take up the job at Tannadice.
He was unveiled to the press on 30 October 2006. Levein guided United to four successive home victories, earning him 'Manager of the Month' for November 2006, later repeating the award in March 2007 and again in October 2007. On 21 January 2008 he was appointed Director of Football at the club, giving him a seat on the Board of Directors in addition to his existing managerial responsibilities. In August 2008, he was fined £5000 by the SFA for accusing a referee of bias after a game against Rangers.
On 23 December 2009, Levein left Dundee United to become the new Scotland manager. He agreed a five and a half year deal. Scotland won 1–0 in his first match in charge, a friendly against the Czech Republic, with the goal coming from Celtic captain Scott Brown. However his second game in charge would not be as successful with Scotland going down 3–0 to Sweden on 12 August 2010. This was also followed by a disappointing 0–0 draw with Lithuania and an unconvincing 2–1 victory over Liechtenstein in the first two Euro 2012 qualifying matches.
Levein dropped in-form striker Kenny Miller and played an ultra-defensive 4–6–0 against Czech Republic in their third game. The match ended in a 1–0 defeat, with Levein attracting criticism for his negative tactics. Levein later said that he had adopted the formation after seeing Russian club Rubin Kazan achieve a good result against FC Barcelona with that approach. He also conceded that he perhaps should not have done this without knowing the players well, early in his tenure as manager.
In the following game, against World and European champions Spain, Levein adopted a more conventional 4–5–1 formation with Miller in attack. Scotland lost 2–3 despite coming back from 0–2 down to draw level at 2–2. Scotland then beat Faroe Islands 3–0 in a friendly where Levein gave seven debuts due to 9 withdrawals from the initial squad. Scotland won the first two matches of the 2011 Nations Cup with ease, beating Northern Ireland 3–0 and Wales 3–1. The Scots lost 1–0 to the Republic of Ireland in their third game, meaning that the Republic won the tournament.
In order to achieve a play-off position, Scotland realistically needed to beat the Czech Republic in their next qualifier. The match ended in a 2–2 draw, after two late controversial penalty kick decisions by Dutch referee Kevin Blom both went against Scotland. 1–0 wins in the next two qualifiers against Lithuania and Liechtenstein kept their chances mathematically alive, but a 3-1 defeat by Spain coupled with the Czech Republic winning in Lithuania eliminated Scotland.
For the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Scotland were drawn into UEFA qualifying Group A with Belgium, Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia and Wales. Preparations started with a 1-1 draw in Slovenia, but the team suffered a humiliating 5-1 defeat by the United States in May. Scotland bounced back with a 3-1 friendly win against Australia in August, although Levein attracted criticism for selecting Ian Black, despite him playing in the fourth tier Scottish Third Division. Levein had previously said that he had not selected Lee Wallace for that reason. Black received a mixed reception when he appeared as a late substitute, with some sections of the crowd booing him.
Levein stated his belief that Scotland were capable of winning all of their qualifying games, but the first two matches ended in dour home draws against Serbia and Macedonia. Levein was again criticised for adopting negative tactics. Levein then recalled Steven Fletcher and Kris Commons, but Scotland fell to two away defeats against Wales and Belgium, which left the Scots bottom of Group A with only 2 points from 4 games. He was relieved of his duties on 5 November 2012, following talks with the Scottish Football Association.
|Club performance||League||Cup||League Cup||Continental||Total|
|Scotland||League||Scottish Cup||League Cup||Europe||Total|
|1981/82||Cowdenbeath||Scottish Second Division||60||0||N/A||N/A||—||60||0|
|Heart of Midlothian||Scottish Premier Division||19||0||2||0||0||0||—||21||0|
|Scotland national team|
- As of October 2012 (competitive club matches only and all international matches):
- Scottish Cup Runner-up: 1
- December 2001, April 2003
- Dundee United
- November 2006, March 2007, October 2007, November 2009
- Scottish League Cup Runner-up: 1
- Craig Levein factfile at itv.com
- Dundee United F.C. profile
- Craig Levein management career stats at Soccerbase
- Craig Levein career stats at Soccerbase
- Profile at londonhearts.com
- The Rampant Ballboy Interviews – Craig Levein, article from When the Sun Shines fanzine, reproduced by blue-brazil.co.uk. Retrieved on 1 November 2006
- "Leicester appoint Levein as boss". BBC Sport website. 2004-10-29.
- "Levein and Leicester part company". BBC Sport website. 2006-01-25.
- "Raith appoint Levein as manager". BBC Sport website. 2006-09-05.
- "Dundee Utd unveil Levein as boss". BBC Sport website. 2006-10-30.
- "SFA agree Levein deal". The Press Association. 23 December 2009. Retrieved 23 December 2009.
- Lamont, Alasdair (5 November 2012). "Craig Levein pays price with Scotland for failure to win". BBC Sport. BBC. Retrieved 24 January 2013.
- "Sweden 3 - 0 Scotland". ESPN Soccernet. 2010-08-12. Retrieved 2010-09-08.
- "Scotland: Craig Levein ready to return to management". BBC Sport. BBC. 23 January 2013. Retrieved 24 January 2013.
- Pattullo, Alan (9 October 2010). "Craig Levein defends his formation as Czechs beat striker-less Scotland". The Scotsman (Johnston Press). Retrieved 9 October 2011.
- Lindsay, Clive (3 September 2011). "Scotland 2-2 Czech Republic". BBC Sport (BBC). Retrieved 9 October 2011.
- "Levein, Craig". National Football Teams. Retrieved 11 November 2011.