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Hearts: Craig Levein ’embarrassed’ by Goncalves racist abuse claims
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Hearts: Craig Levein ’embarrassed’ by Goncalves racist abuse claims

Hearts manager Craig Levein and former Hearts striker Isma Goncalves

Craig Levein feels “embarrassed” that Isma Goncalves did not speak to him about the alleged racist abuse he says played a role in his Hearts departure.

The 26-year-old, who moved to Pakhtakor Tashkent in January, claimed racially motivated taunts “from a minority” of Hearts fans proved a factor.

Levein said he would contact Goncalves to apologise on behalf of the club.

The Hearts manager also hinted that it may not be an isolated incident following discussions with his squad.

Goncalves, who was born in Guinea-Bissau but played youth football for Portugal, was in his second stint in Scottish football having had a loan spell with St Mirren from Rio Ave in 2013.

He joined Hearts in January 2017 after leaving Anorthosis Famagusta in Cyprus and went on to score 15 times in 42 games for the Edinburgh club.

“I was obviously sad and slightly embarrassed that Isma didn’t feel he could come to me and talk about it,” he said. “That’s on me and it’s something I need to look at.

“If we have a player who has been struggling and has suffered racial abuse, then I need to make it easier for him to come and speak to me and talk about it.

Zero tolerance on racist abuse

“If you read the statement