Hibs boss Neil Lennon relieved to hear Hearts rival is on the mend after admitting he was concerned for his welfare


They are sworn enemies on derby day in Edinburgh and have been known to engage in verbal sparring off the pitch.

However, Hibernian manager Neil Lennon admits he was left shaken at hearing how rival Hearts counterpart Craig Levein was left hospitalised at the start of the week.

News that Levein needed emergency medical treatment on Monday morning for what is now known to be a heart problem stunned Scottish football.

Lennon’s concerns for the 53-year-old’s welfare were eased when the two exchanged texts later that day.

Levein, who mischievously sparked a row when he claimed that ‘natural order’ had been restored following his side’s Scottish Cup win over Hibs in January, has since tweeted to say that he intends to be back in the dugout after the international break.

Naturally Lennon, whose side travel to Livingston today, is relieved to hear that he is on the mend.

He said: “I’m delighted he’s recovering, I was gutted and a bit upset to tell you the truth. You see the headline and you just worry.

“Thankfully I was able to get hold of him later on that day and he was in good spirits.

“It was just texts as I didn’t want to ring him, I knew he was in hospital but didn’t know what condition he was in.

“We sent all our best wishes from the staff here and he got back to me really quickly with his usual dry sense of humour.

“That to me was a great sign and I will be delighted to see him back soon but he obviously needs a bit of time and a bit of privacy as well.

“At the end of the day, there is huge respect there.

“You like the verbals sometimes and the spats, I get involved with a lot of people if they rub me up the wrong way and I’m sure I rub people up the wrong way.

“You don’t mean them any ill-will, you just want to beat them and that’s the nature of the job.

“There is certainly no animosity between us, that’s for sure.”


Levein will miss Hearts’ visit of St Mirren today but Lennon reckons a brief break from the game could be a blessing in disguise.

He added: “I’m delighted he’s on the road to recovery and his health is the most important thing.

“He is a workaholic and maybe the wee break will do him the world of good.

“It just shows you the demands of the job and what it can do to you sometimes.

“I think his is compounded by the fact he’s the director of football there, he has made big strides in a short space of time in turning the playing performances around.

“You can’t do it all, and maybe it’s just his body telling him to slow down a little bit and enjoy the wins.”