Morton and Raith Rovers hit back at Craig Levein BBC claim

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MORTON and Raith Rovers have reacted with anger after Craig Levein accused the Championship clubs of conspiring to sabotage Hearts’ return to training.

The Jambos, who began their pre-season on August 3, have been forced to halt preparations until next Monday following a diktat from Scottish football’s Joint Response Group.

No team below the Premiership is allowed to train until August 24 in the aftermath of high-profile breaches of Covid-19 safety protocols by the ‘Aberdeen 8’ and Celtic defender Boli Bolingoli.

Former Hearts manager Craig Levein | Hearts news
Ex-Hearts manager and director of football Craig Levein

Hearts are furious that, despite complying to the same precautions as top-flight sides, they have been included in the ban.

And former Tynecastle boss Levein – who ironically had a spell in charge of the Kirkcaldy outfit – suggested that Hearts have suffered due to complaints from Morton and Rovers.

Levein said: “I didn’t realise that a couple of teams had actually complained to the SFA that Hearts had had an unfair advantage because they were training.

“I believe it was Morton and Raith. Those teams also had the opportunity to start training two weeks ago, but they didn’t want to.

“What they wanted to do was keep their players on furlough because they wouldn’t spend money. How can this be fair?

“How can it possibly be fair that they’ve stopped Hearts training when they’re doing everything correctly?”

Those comments sparked a furious reaction from the Greenock outfit.

Morton confirmed that they have contacted BBC Scotland and have requested ‘that the broadcaster addresses this issue as a matter of course’.

A statement read: “On Monday night’s BBC Radio Scotland programme, ‘Sportsound’ and in the midst of a live production, one of the panellists expressed the view that he had been told that Greenock Morton and Raith Rovers had complained to the SFA with relation to the Heart of Midlothian FC squad being allowed to train.

“As a Club we can categorically state that no such complaint was ever despatched from us to the SFA with respect to Heart of Midlothian FC on this matter.

“Equally, the only recent contact between Morton and the SFA has been a request to return to full training which was compliant with current rules and guidelines.

“The Club, as a consequence, has complained to BBC Scotland clearly stating our position and requesting that the broadcaster addresses this issue as a matter of course.”

A Raith Rovers spokesperson, meanwhile, said: “On [Monday’s] Sportsound broadcast, a claim was made relating to the decisions made regarding the suspension of training.

“No complaint was made by ourselves or Greenock Morton to the SFA regarding the training arrangements of Heart of Midlothian FC.”

 
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