Craig Levein wary of Ross County under new manager Owen Coyle

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Craig Levein thinks Ross County were wrong to axe Jim McIntyre – but the Hearts boss cannot fault their choice of replacement.

Owen Coyle has been lured north by Dingwall chief Roy MacGregor and will take charge of the Staggies for the first time at home when the Jambos visit on Saturday.

Levein admits he was surprised to see MacGregor get rid of McIntrye just 18 months after he had taken the club to their first ever major trophy.

But, with former St Johnstone, Burnley and Bolton boss Coyle now in place, he expects a difficult afternoon in the Highlands.

“It’s a very good appointment,” said the Hearts boss. “I did think it was a bit harsh on Jim given that he had won Ross County’s first major trophy with the League Cup.

“I think he deserved a little bit longer.

“But I’m not the man who makes the decisions at Ross County. Roy has obviously decided it is time for a new manager and has done very well to get someone of Owen’s calibre.

“He has managed at a very high level. He’s managed in Scotland, which I think is important as well. He knows the league and the players and will be a good addition to the game up here.

“Roy has invested heavily in his club and still is. They pay good wages and have some very good players up there. They may be one of the smaller clubs, but they certainly attract good players and now a good manager, so this will be a tough game for us.”