HEARTS manager Craig Levein has insisted that he would never dream of urging his international stars to withdraw from Scotland’s controversial end-of-season double-header in Peru and Mexico.

Celtic, who could have eight players called up for the trip, have been outspoken critics of the fixtures, with Brendan Rodgers confirming this week that they plan to write to the SFA with a view to excusing some of his more fatigued players from duty ahead of the Champions League qualifiers in July.

Hibs and Aberdeen have also been cited as clubs who may have similar reservations.

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However, Levein, who managed Scotland between 2009 and 2012, has no plans to follow suit by withdrawing the likes of Christophe Berra or John Souttar should they be called upon by their country.

“I must say, I don’t know all the background behind it, but I would never stop players going on international duty,” Levein said. “I think it adds value to players - I don’t mean financially but to themselves.

“It’s a big thing, and it used to frustrate the life out of me when I knew people were ‘at it’.

“You get a player who has not been capped, and the agent has been pushing and pushing to get them capped and the player is saying he is desperate to play for Scotland - then he gets five caps and a wage rise and then he can’t be bothered! Not naming any names, there.”

Meanwhile, Levein has confirmed that Isma Goncalves will not be in the Hearts squad to face Motherwell as he edges closer to a switch to Uzbek outfit Pakhtakor Tashkent, while he denied the club have had any contact from Sunderland regarding striker Kyle Lafferty.

Cole Stockton, in talks with Carlisle, and Krystian Nowak have also been told they can leave the club after growing increasingly disillusioned on the bench.

Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson is hoping meanwhile that his new dynamic duo in attack, Curtis Main and Nadir Ciftci, hold the key to unlocking a Hearts defence that haven’t conceded a goal in eight matches. He feels the unpredictability of Ciftci, in particular, could be a major asset.

“Nobody can seem to score against them at the minute,” said Robinson. “They’re on a very good run and, obviously, they have a solid defence but it’s up to us to be creative, get behind them and get crosses into the box so that we can test their resolve.

“Nadir has been involved in two goals so far and Curtis has scored once and also won a penalty, so they’ve both been very bright.

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“[Nadir] has what we were lacking in that he can do something off the cuff. He can conjure up something out of the blue to win a match.

“Nadir brings that little bit of quality that – Craig Tanner excepted – we were missing at the top end of the pitch.”

Motherwell’s business in the transfer market may not yet be done for the month, with a fractured cheekbone suffered by forward Ryan Bowman and the departure of Alex Fisher to Yeovil Town meaning that Robinson will look to bring in another forward.

“With Ryan Bowman cracking his cheekbone and eye socket, it’s important that we do something,” he said.

“We’re looking at a minimum of four weeks and probably closer to six weeks out for him. He hasn’t got the Phantom of the Opera mask yet – I could say something about that, but I won’t.

“Ryan and Charles Dunne both went for a loose ball on Friday and you’re hoping that both of them pull out of it. However, the type of boys we have at this club don’t pull out of anything, even when you want them to.

“The upshot was that they both banged each other’s heads and Ryan came off worst – and, given the size of Charles’ head, no wonder!”