VLADIMIR ROMANOV finally bit the bullet this New Year's Day and launched an immediate search for a traditional-style football manager to haul Hearts out of their relegation turmoil.
The majority shareholder has dispensed with his three-pronged coaching committee of Anatoli Korobochka, Angel Chervenkov and Stephen Frail following five consecutive league defeats that have left the club tenth in the SPL.
Romanov has appointed Frail caretaker manager until a suitable new candidate arrives to take control, at which point the Scot will revert to being assistant coach. Korobochka retains his title of sport director.
Romanov is hunting an experienced figure to run football operations at Tynecastle and is promising the new man full autonomy in areas of coaching, team selection and tactics, which no previous incumbent has had during the Russian's tenure.
Frail will take charge for the first time at Tannadice on Wednesday when Hearts face Dundee United, but the new search is sure to alert high-profile managerial figures across Europe.
"It was strange to be asked to come to Tynecastle and be told that the decision has been made for the club to seek a British-type manager with full say in all team affairs," Frail admitted on Tuesday. "Until that time I've been given the challenge of taking it on and trying to improve results and get us playing and working and moving up the table.
"Immdiately, the priority has to be getting back to having everyone on the football side pulling in the one direction and ultimately getting results. Once you start getting results, things take care of themselves from there," Frail continued.
"I don't know how long this is going to be for but until we bring in the correct manager I'll try my very best to make sure we give something back to our very loyal support.
"It's not for me to say one way or the other whether this is the right decision, I'm only pleased that I've been given temporary charge and I feel very honoured. It's important we start properly.
"The understanding I have is that this is a more traditional British-type structure. Some other teams are seeking a manager but it's been a slightly different situation here. Hopefully I can get a reaction from the players and I'll be talking to them as soon as I can to stress what I'm looking for."
Frail aimed a stark warning to certain Hearts players who are guilty of not pulling their weight in training. He continued: "We need everyone who plays to earn the right to play. There will be one or two changes in terms of people, in terms of games and personnel. Everyone who is training has a chance if they are playing well.
"If you're not training and you think you can go on reputation, or before you thought you could play one game, miss two and then come back in, hopefully that will not be the case any more. We'll have full control of the team and be able to pick and make substitutions as we see fit.
"It will be a fresh start for some players and a wake-up call for one or two others who think they can turn up and because of who they are, regardless of if they've played much football recently, always look to get back in the team.
"My understanding is I've been given full control on that side of things, so anyone who thinks they're just there for the sake of it is making a mistake. Hopefully the ones I know we can rely on will see this as a positive change and it'll lift the whole place," Frail said.
"The change is a slight relief but we're still in the position we're in. Let's not be to casual about it, a lot of work has to be done. But I'm delighted to be given the honour of giving it a go and hopefully it will steady things. By the time the new man comes in, we want to leave him in a healthy area of the table."
Frail is hopeful of attaining his UEFA Pro Licence in the near future to enable him to hold a managerial job permanently, although he is coy whether that could be at Hearts. He added: "There are a lot of things which come into it. One is having a Pro Licence, which at the minute I don't have. I'm in the process of getting on the next available course. The club needs someone in place with that.
"What I would ask for is the same level of support as we've had from the fans. It's not going to change overnight. It's about trying to get the players back to knowing what it's all about. In recent weeks we've been beaten by players with less ability."
Added Frail: "We have a team of individuals who are all good players and if we play as we can do we shouldn't be far away. It's going to be a process of trying to turn it. I'm very excited, the role I've had recently has been everything a manager does although not in terms of budgets and players coming in.
"Ultimately nothing has been my decision but now it is and if the stick comes then it has to come. The most important thing through this period is stabilising things trying to improve. My thoughts will count now, it's my team that goes in and I'm hopeful of a reaction."
A statement by Hearts today read: "The Board of Heart of Midlothian Football Club has begun the search for a football manager to fill the current vacant post at Tynecastle. The manager, who will have full responsibility for team selection, will be an experienced football manager and will preferably have experience of management in British football.
"The new manager will work with sport director Anatoli Korobochka and assistant head coach Stephen Frail. In the interim Stephen Frail will assume the caretaker manager role at Hearts with full responsibility for team selection and coaching of the first team squad.
"The board of directors of Hearts acknowledges it is not acceptable for Hearts to be in its current position in the league. The new manager's task will be to drive the club forward on the playing side to fulfill the club's ambitions.
"The move by the board of directors has the full backing of Hearts majority shareholder Vladimir Romanov."
Buy the Evening News on Wednesday for full coverage of this developing story