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LEVEIN ‘DELIGHTED’ FOR FORREST, McLEISH

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CRAIG LEVEIN has called upon the Tartan Army to rally round the Scotland international team and show their support for boss Alex McLeish.

The Hearts gaffer, who was the Scots manager from 1990 to 94, has been impressed by Big Eck’s handling of the team during the two successive victories over Albania (4-0) and Israel (3-2) in the past week to confirm Nations League promotion along with a play-off spot for Euro 2020.

It was the Tynecastle chief who gave James Forrest his first cap in 2011 and the Celtic winger finally hit the goal trail after 24 consecutive games without a strike to his name. However, that changed with his double in Albania at the weekend and his scintillating hat-trick against the Israelis at Hampden on Tuesday.

Levein said: “I think Forrest is a fantastic football player. Wingers are notoriously up and down and confidence is a huge thing.

“I’m delighted for him and thrilled to bits for Alex McLeish. I know how difficult it is, how sometimes things can work against you and make it difficult for you to do that job.

SCOTLAND THE RAVE…a delighted Alex McLeish applauds the fans after the 3-2 win over Israel. Pic: Geo.

“But I’m chuffed how he has managed to get two fantastic results. They played well in both games and it’ll be great if the fans can get behind him and the team and see if we can really kick on from here.”

McLeish, who was hit by NINE call-offs from his original squad for the UEFA Nations League encounters, successfully put the jigsaw together to come up with six crucial points following last month’s 2-1 disappointment in Israel.

Levein turned his thoughts back to club football and the Edinburgh side’s Premiership game against St Mirren in Paisley tomorrow and admitted he is hopeful of extending centre-back Jimmy Dunne’s loan spell.

The defender’s temporary transfer from Burnley is due to expire in January and the Hearts boss has had a chat about the situation with his opposite number Sean Dyche.

He added: “I’ve spoken to Sean and we’ll speak again early January. In principle, we felt it was quite a good idea for him to prolong his stay here.
“I’ve not bottomed that out completely, so I’ll do that once I get past these games leading up to the winter break.”

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Editor

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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