Levein Praises a Team Reborn

Article excerpt

Byline: ALAN DOUGLAS

WELL v HEARTS

LOSING the nucleus of a team can rarely be considered helpful but Hearts manager Craig Levein says Motherwell have used it to their advantage.

As Terry Butcher prepares to host the capital side today, opposite number Levein is full of admiration for the way a side stripped of its big names and so nearly relegated last term have turned things around.

And he argues that the loss of James Mc Fadden and Stephen Pearson has made the Fir Park side stronger.

'They have probably lost their two best players but they are a better team now,' Levein said. 'Other people have stepped in and, all of a sudden, people are talking about Keith Lasley and Derek Adams.

Maybe the presence o f McFadden had been holding other people back.

'Players want to put themselves in the spotlight. They are very much a unit now and bond very well together. It's all about the team. The best side in the world does not always have the best players. Scott Leitch went out of the team and all of a sudden Adams is playing the best football of his life. …