Scott Brown: Players need protection from Celtic captain, says Hearts' Craig Levein

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Craig Levein says Scott Brown 'had it in mind' not to be bossed by Hearts' Harry Cochrane.

Hearts manager Craig Levein has urged more protection for players when they come up against Celtic's Scott Brown.

Midfielder Harry Cochrane suffered an injury to his collarbone after a challenge from the Celtic captain during Hearts' defeat on Tuesday.

"I think everybody should get a bit more protection from Scott Brown really. But we will see," said Levein.

Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers defended Brown as a "top-class" player who aims to dominate every game he plays.

Levein was asked if young players require more action from referees. "Yes of course," he replied.

Brown has picked up nine yellow cards this season but was last sent off against Ross County in April - his only red card in three seasons.

Following the 32-year-old's challenge, Cochrane had to be replaced with Prince Buaben after 38 minutes of Hearts' 3-1 defeat.

And the 16-year-old will miss this weekend's Scottish Premiership meeting with St Johnstone as a result of his injury.

"I was annoyed about that," said Levein, who was midfielder Brown's manager with the Scotland international team.

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers

"I watched it back and I think Scott had decided after the game at Tynecastle, when Harry bossed him, he wasn't going to let that happen.

"I've known Scott for a long time and he is aggressive in the way he plays."

Rodgers defended his captain and said that he was loved by the Celtic supporters and respected by players.

"Scott Brown goes into every single game to dominate the game; that's what I ask him to do and what's I ask the team to do," said Rodgers.

"He's a top-class international player - Scott is a great example of a top-class player, who plays on the limit every single game.

"It's why our supporters love him and why other players will respect him, because he shows his fight in every single game.

Hearts' Harry Cochrane shields the ball from Celtic's Scott Brown in Hearts' 4-0 win at Tynecastle in December
Cochrane enjoyed a superb game as Hearts ended Celtic's unbeaten domestic run in December

"If you go back to the game itself, there were more fouls made by Hearts players than Celtic players. Like we always do, we always look to play and win games in the most sporting way that we possibly can, whilst winning on the scoreboard. That's important for us."

Hearts are still assessing how long Cochrane, who scored in Hearts' 4-0 win over Celtic in December, will be sidelined for.

"I don't know, but he'll certainly be out for the next two or three matches by the looks of things," Levein said.

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