Hearts teenager Harry Cochrane insists the challenge from Celtic captain Scott Brown that left him with a painful shoulder reinforced that he needs to bulk up.
The 16-year-old, who signed a new three-year deal on Thursday, sustained a sprained collarbone and was forced off in the January 30 defeat at Parkhead after Brown landed on him following a tussle for the ball.
Levein was furious with the incident and accused former Scotland captain Brown of deliberating targeting his player in retaliation after Cochrane scored and shone in ending the Hoops’ 69-game unbeaten run last December.
Cochrane, who is expected to line-up against Rangers at Ibrox tomorrow, said: “I didn’t really pay attention at the time but it is good to hear that the manager had my back.
“There wasn’t really anything in the challenge, it was the awkward way I fell.
“The shoulder is still sore just now, but it shows me I have to get in the gym more.
“I’m a bit skinny so I have been in the gym and I have the sport scientist working with me.
“I would say that even boys who are bigger than me at my age would still find it difficult because you are playing fully grown adults.
“But me being as wee as I am, it is difficult and that is why you have to think more, you have to be a step ahead, If not, when you get the ball, you get smashed.”
Despite playing 21 games in a whirlwind breakthrough season and signing fresh terms, Cochrane admits he is in no rush to earn promotion to the first team dressing room.
He added: “That will be when the gaffer decides I’m a first team player.
“It’s not up to me. I need to keep doing my jobs and cleaning the boots and I am happy with that.
“I’m still in the 20s changing room, it would be a good reward to get into the first team but I quite like being in with the boys. It is a good laugh in there.”