HEARTS boss Craig Levein has fired back at Brendan Rodgers following the Celtic gaffer’s criticism of the Tynecastle pitch during the champions’ 3-1 win on Sunday.

The Edinburgh manager said the Irishman could “moan and bleat all he wants”, but the surface will be in the same condition the next time the Parkhead outfit visit.

Rodgers claimed he was “embarrassed” by the pitch and admitted the length of the grass saw him change tactics to make the team more direct.

Levein said: “I would have hated to see the fury and the froth if they had actually lost the game.

“If we want to talk about a level playing field, if they bring a team through here that earn the same money as our players do, then we will put them out on the pitch and see who wins.

“There is not a level playing field in Scotland and I make no apologies for staying within the rules and trying to win the game. None at all.

“He can moan and bleat all he wants, it will be the same again next season.

PITCH BATTLE… Celtic skipper Scott Brown challenges Hearts’ Steven Naismith. Pic: Geo.

“I just get disappointed that Brendan can set his team up and his pitch up any way he wants.

“As long as we stay within the rules, then I don’t know what he’s bleating about. Celtic prepare their pitch the way they want it. It’s all a nonsense, really.”

The Edinburgh club have committed almost £1million to laying a new hybrid pitch in the close season, but the former Scotland chief warned Rodgers not to expect the grass to be any different on his next visit.

He added: “We’ll just let it grow,” he said.

Levein also confirmed they would challenge any potential ban for Steven Naismith after it emerged that SFA compliance officer Tony McGlennan was considering action over the midfielder’s challenge on Hoops skipper Scott Brown.

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Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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