JIM DUFFY has revealed Saturday’s controversy over Craig Levein’s influence at Hearts reminded him of his own time at the club – only Vladimir Romanov used to pass notes to the management team before the game.
Duffy spent a brief spell at Tynecastle in 2006, being promoted from the coaching staff after a fortnight to the role of director of football now filled by Levein.
The current Morton boss lasted barely a month, though, being sacked along with head coach Graham Rix after the ruthless Romanov expressed his disappointment with results.
Romanov became known for interfering in team selection, player recruitment and even the timing of substitutions during games, something Duffy has confessed would be predetermined before kick-off.
However, he believes Levein’s influence over head coach Ian Cathro in the current set-up is not a problem – as long as the pair’s roles were set out clearly when Cathro took over from Robbie Neilson in December.
Levein was highlighted passing information Cathro via coach Jon Daly during Saturday’s 2-0 defeat to Aberdeen at Pittodrie and was reportedly in the Hearts dressing room at half-time.
Cathro shrugged off his mentor’s involvement as ‘normal’ and Duffy accepts there is no issue if such a relationship was understood from the beginning.
He said: “Obviously I was at Hearts when Vladimir Romanov was there.
“Unfortunately, he didn’t give you notes during the game, he gave you them before the game – who was to play and when the substitutions were to be made and things like that!
“So, it’s not unfamiliar territory for Hearts.
“But I think it’s a strange one, of course, because it’s not common practice in Scotland.
“If there is an influence there then it is perceived as [questioning] who’s in charge.
“The thing that was a wee bit strange for me was that Ian came out and said ‘I’m in charge’. He’s not, Craig Levein’s in charge.
“That’s not being disrespectful. Craig Levein’s the director of football, so he’s in charge.
“He appointed Ian, so he’s the boss in terms of the club and Ian will be the gaffer in terms of the football team.
“But if you understand that when you go into a job, if when he went for the interview it was explained ’this is what we do with recruitment and this is what we do tactically and we discuss things and team selection’ then that’s fine.
“If that’s already agreed before you take the job then that’s fine.”
Speaking to BBC Scotland, he added: “It’s only if you take the job and then it changes. That’s when it become difficult.
“I would guess that because Ian’s been appointed by Craig Levein he’s been told by him ‘this is what happens at this football club and this is the influence I have, or may have’.”