Craig Levein: St Johnstone appoint former Scotland and Hearts manager as team boss

Craig Levein
Craig Levein has kept a keen eye on Scottish football in recent years

Former Scotland boss Craig Levein has been appointed St Johnstone's new manager on an two-and-a-half year deal.

The 59-year-old, whose contract runs until May 2026, will be joined in Perth by former Heart of Midlothian striker Andy Kirk as assistant.

Kirk has been manager of the Highland League's Brechin City, where Levein has spent two seasons as club advisor.

"Andy is a great coach and will take on most of the training," Levein told St Johnstone TV.

The pair will take charge of the team for the first time for Tuesday's Scottish Premiership game against Motherwell.

St Johnstone secured their first league win of the season on Saturday, beating Kilmarnock 2-1 in their first game under coach Alex Cleland following the dismissal of Steven MacLean, but they remain three points adrift of Livingston at the foot of the table.

The Perth board had an approach for Livingston manager David Martindale rejected by the West Lothian club, but it is Levein who returns to football management four years after his second spell as Heart of Midlothian came to an end.

"I believe we have a great squad here that can kick on and start to climb up the league," he said.

Earlier on Sunday, Levein had admitted to BBC Radio Scotland's Sportsound that he wanted "another go at it, throw the dice and see if, in the latter stages of my career, I can make a difference to St Johnstone and get them up the league".

"This opportunity is something that I looked seriously at - looked at the squad, the results, spoke to a few people - and had a good feeling about it," he said.

After ending his playing days at Tynecastle, Levein moved into management with his first club Cowdenbeath then returned to Hearts as boss in 2000.

A two-year spell at Leicester City started in 2004 and he then had stints at Raith Rovers and Dundee United before his Scotland appointment in 2009.

Levein left the role three years later and spent five years out of management before returning to the Hearts dugout, being let go in October 2019 - after a defeat by St Johnstone in Perth.

Since then, he has co-hosted a podcast on BBC Sounds called Sacked in the Morning.

St Johnstone chief executive Stan Harris thanked Brechin for their cooperation in making the appointment of Levein and 44-year-old Kirk, who played under the new Saints boss and later managed the Hearts women's team.

"Craig joins with vast experience, having managed over 600 games, including having the highest honour of managing Scotland," he added.

"We identified the need for experience to help guide St Johnstone through this difficult spell. We believe we have found that by appointing Craig."

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