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Gerrard: Levein sacking won't affect League Cup semi-final

The Rangers boss said he was surprised by the timing of the decision to fire the Hearts boss.

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard has revealed he was surprised Hearts sacked Craig Levein but doesn't believe it will affect the League Cup semi-final.

Levein was removed from his position after the Tynecastle side won just one of 11 league games and slumped to second bottom of the Premiership table. Assistant coach Austin McPhee has been place in temporary charge and will call the shots for the crucial match at Hampden.

Gerrard said he understood the thinking behind Levein's sacking but the timing made him raise an eyebrow.

"It can be brutal at times," he said. "We are aware of that. It is a results business we are in.

"A club the size of Hearts, if you are down at the bottom of the table and you have won only one in 11, I think you are always going to be under pressure.

"I'm probably surprised a little bit at the timing, on the eve of a semi-final. But I think if you look at Hearts' form it is probably not as much a surprise.

"I never like to see other managers lose their job so I certainly feel for Craig. But he is still around in the background so I am sure he will have an input somewhere along the line, but probably surprised a little bit at the timing."

Gerrard feels his own side are in a much stronger position than they were when they fell at the semi-final stage in last season's competition, citing greater "firepower" in his squad. He's also hopeful goalkeeper Allan McGregor will be fit to start, rating his chances as more than 50-50 after he sat out the midweek win over Ross County.

As he draws up plans for the big match at the national stadium, Gerrard said he wouldn't expect Levein's departure to change the opposition too much.

"I don't think it will affect the game," he said."From my point of view we have to focus on what's going on here, the job we want to do and our preparation.

"It is not really our business what's going on elsewhere.

"I am not sure things will change too much. Obviously personnel will be the same. Austin might try to do something different with the formation or the tactics or personnel, of course he will.

"We will have to wait and see what formation and personnel they decide to pick but you always have that challenge going into any game."

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