CRAIG LEVEIN has launched a withering attack on his old sparring partner Michael Stewart, insisting he has no intention of heeding advice from someone who "lacks the intelligence or courage" to become a football manager.

The outspoken pundit lambasted Levein for his treatment of David Vanecek after the Hearts boss hauled his January signing off after 30 minutes of Wednesday’s 2-1 defeat against Dundee and described his display as "rubbish".

Stewart, who played under Levein at Tynecastle during the 2004/05 campaign, stated it was "poor management", re-igniting the feud between the pair.

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Levein has previously accused Stewart of having a vendetta against him following repeated digs, while he described the former Manchester United kid as his worst value-for-money signing – after paying £1 to secure his loan arrival.

In a brutal riposte yesterday, the ex-Scotland boss suggested Stewart was a coward, had double-standards and mocked the political commentary of the SNP campaigner.

"From my point of view, why would I take advice from somebody like Michael Stewart about football? It's crazy,” said Levein. “It's like taking advice about politics from somebody like – Michael Stewart. He's not clever enough or brave enough to do that, either.

“It does make me laugh because it's so obvious. He's going to self-combust one day. He can't help himself. He tries for a period of time. I wouldn't say he's waiting to pounce – it’s more like he comes lumbering through the door. There's nothing subtle about him.

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“I get all the press stuff delivered to me in the morning and I just hope there's some Michael Stewart quotes.

"I've dealt with the player and Michael doesn't know the circumstances. Just because Michael said it, we shouldn't assume that it's wrong - but it is.

Levein added: “Lenny [Neil Lennon, Hibs head coach] had a pop at Kamberi - did Michael stay anything? Imagine that!”

Levein robustly defended his assessment of Vanecek, adding context to his criticism by slamming the player’s decision to go on a lengthy holiday to Thailand in December following the end of his Teplice contract - all the while, promising the world the Hearts fans on social media.

That visibly irked Levein, who is adamant Vanecek is in no shape to walk the walk after talking the talk.

“I was honest, and I believe any relationship needs to start with honesty. There is no point in me fudging around the issue,” continued Levein.

“David’s season finished and he has gone on holiday for four weeks - maybe longer, in his head. He has switched off altogether and not done anything. That is evident and I am annoyed about that.

“I’ve told him that personally. I sat down with him on Thursday and showed him all the clips from the game, showed him all his crap on social media that he was sending to Hearts supporters saying ‘I’m coming to score 10 goals’ and all that.

“I’m better telling him that now than pussy-footing around. He needs to know I’m unhappy about the way he has approached this.

“If he hadn’t been sending all these social media messages out and bigging himself up so that supporters expect a performance then I would have had more sympathy. But he has set himself up and he knows that.

“It’s better to under-promise than over-deliver than it is to do it the other way round. You are better coming in quietly and making an impact than talking about what you are going to do.”

Despite lambasting the towering front-man, Levein has confirmed that Vanecek is set to keep his place in the Hearts side to face St Johnstone today due to the tactical importance of having a physical presence in attack.

And, contrary to the likes of Stewart and Steven Thompson suggesting his man-management was off the mark, he fully expects a positive response from the Czech.

“He is apologetic, says he will do extra training and I’m hopeful this is the kick up the backside he needs,” added Levein. “He is going to work really hard to get himself up to full speed. I don’t want our supporters to think that’s the best he can do.

“He will be involved on Saturday. If I can get him focused, I might get an hour out of him, I might get 45 minutes out of him.”

Levein, who will welcome Steven Naismith and the fit-again John Souttar back into the starting line-up for today’s visit of St Johnstone believe that, in the cold light of day, there were positives to take from their midweek reverse against Dundee.

“I used to go way up then down, then up after results. I don’t do that quite so much now,” added Levein. “I watched the game on Thursday and watched the second half again on Friday and the frustration of not winning at home was a difficult thing to take.

“But I forgot how many really good opportunities we had to score and, watching the second half, it was all us aside from that mistake that cost us the goal. When I watched it back I thought: I’d be happy to make that many chances on Saturday.”

Levein's comments on Stewart provoked a response from the pundit.

The former Scotland midfielder wrote on Twitter: "I'll keep asking the difficult questions of Craig Levein and as much as he wants to deflect with these particularly funny answers his well-known need for control doesn't work with me."

In a lengthy reply, Stewart added: "He asked recently to be judged after another two transfer windows. Well, he's had those & the team, backed by a total squad of 30, has lost eight of the last 14 games.

"They're sixth in the league and bottom of the league for minutes played by academy players. These are the uncomfortable truths that Craig wants to deflect people from. But I sense his wit is wearing thin with the masses."