HEARTS are seeking a new manager with “a strong character and experience” to replace John McGlynn and restore the club to the upper echelons of the Scottish Premier League.
Director Sergejus Fedotovas explained today that McGlynn’s successor may not necessarily be in place before this month’s Scottish Communities League Cup final but must be able to continue developing young players and challenge in the top half of the table.
The Tynecastle hierarchy parted company with McGlynn yesterday morning following a fourth successive league defeat, this time at St Mirren, on Wednesday night. First-team coach Gary Locke and player development manager Darren Murray are now the interim management team as the search begins for a permanent appointment.
Fedotovas identified the need for improvement as the main reason behind McGlynn’s exit. The former Raith Rovers manager won eight, drew 12 and lost 14 from 32 competitive games in charge of Hearts. Both supporters and the board considered that record less than satisfactory. With the club 11th in the SPL, Fedotovas said a change of direction was crucial ahead of the cup final on March 17. Edgaras Jankauskas remains in place to assist Locke and Murray, who take charge of the team for the first time tomorrow against Motherwell at Tynecastle.
“Obviously we are looking to improve. We need a strong character and we need experience,” explained Fedotovas. “We also need to work within a certain environment. We have a squad of young players and it will be like this until the end of the season. We are re-assessing the situation and that will continue into the new season. We will continue the restructuring and the rebuilding on and off the pitch.
“Youth development always has been and will continue to be one of our major strategies. We know the squad that we have this season and we know what the players are capable of. We have seen a few good games, but unfortunately the results are not so good. We believe there is still a possibility to improve the situation and we are looking for a manager capable of doing this.
“Edgaras is still part of the coaching team. Everyone is involved these days. Obviously, for the guys who have spent a longer time with the club, more responsibility is on them. Edgaras is a great help and we count on him to continue his good work.”
Paul Hartley, Colin Cameron, Derek McInnes and Craig Levein are just some of the early candidates for the manager’s job, however Steven Pressley has distanced himself. Hearts will not rush to make an appointment. They are willing to let Locke and Murray take charge for next week’s Edinburgh derby at Easter Road and for the cup final if need be.
The timing of McGlynn’s departure and the installation of an interim management team allows Fedotovas and Vladimir Romanov, the club’s majority shareholder, time to consider their options. It may also spark a reaction within the squad, with many players looking shorn of confidence recently. Fedotovas and his fellow directors will assess potential new managers over the next few days.
“To a certain extent, the timing is a coincidence. From another point of view it is important,” continued Fedotovas. “We need to address this situation and we need to make changes. We have two weeks until the cup final so I think this is a good time to consider all options, consider strategies, consider players, who is good, who is bad, what changes we can make. This gives us time to try different things and prepare for the cup final.
“We will address it over the next few days. We need to build on what we’ve got and we need to aim for a higher position. Hearts need to aim to come back into the top positions in the league. Whether that is this season or next season, we need to be building the strongest possible team within our means. We want to continue the good track record that we’ve had over the last few years. This team deserves to be one of the top teams in the league.”
McGlynn lasted eight months at Hearts after leaving Raith last June and suffered almost constant turmoil during that period. Players were sold, wages were delayed and he and his squad agreed to defer salaries in November as unpaid bills saw a winding-up order issued against the club. He had to rely increasingly on youth academy players to supplement his squad but still reached the League Cup Final by defeating Inverness on penalties in late January.
League form was sub-standard, however, which ultimately cost him his job. “We were working for quite a long time with him compared to many other managers,” said Fedotovas, recognising the number of coaches who have passed through Tynecastle during the Romanov era. “I think we are trying to find our way as a club and as a team and for quite a while he (McGlynn) didn’t bring us any good results. However, he has really done a lot working with a young team and improving young players. His work has not been without a benefit to the club. Obviously the last few games and results were not good and it sends certain signals. We believe it was quite a difficult time for everyone involved, both management and players. We felt we needed some fresh air and a fresh look at things. Hopefully this is something to change the situation.”
Fedotovas still believes Hearts could end the season in a high note. He and Romanov will attend the cup final and their feeling is that the top six of the SPL is not yet unattainable. “Without belief it wouldn’t be possible to survive, but we need to get things right,” he said.
WHO’S NEXT FOR GORGIE HOTSEAT?
A 2006 Scottish Cup winner for Hearts, the 36-year-old has enjoyed a terrific start to his managerial career, leading Alloa Athletic to the Division Three championship last season, and this term on course to clinch a play-off spot in Division Two.
Another Scottish Cup hero, scoring the opening goal from the penalty spot in the 2-1 defeat of Rangers in 1998. Appointed Cowdenbeath manager in June 2011, Cameron led the Blue Brazil to the Second Division title earning the club promotion in his first season at the helm.
secured promotion to the SPL in 2009 with St Johnstone and quickly established himself with the Perth club before leaving to take up the reins at struggling English Championship outfit Bristol City in October 2011. Despite the club avoiding relegation at the end of last season, McInnes was sacked in January this year after a poor run of results.
Shot to fame with a stunning hat-trick for the Gorgie side in a 3-0 victory at Ibrox in January 1996. Was appointed Queen of the South manager at the end of last season and his side currently hold a whopping 16-point lead in the Second Division.
EX-HEARTS player enjoyed success as manager of Stirling Albion before taking over at Morton in 2010. His team currently sit at the top of the Irn-Bru First Division in a two-way battle for promotion to the SPL with Partick Thistle.
FORMER Hearts player managed the club with great success between 2000 and 2004 before his departure to Leicester City. Held the Scotland job until November last year before being relieved of his duties.
GARY LOCKE/DARREN MURRAY
Placed in temporary charge of the first team and will look to demonstrate their capabilities starting with tomorrow’s fixture with Motherwell at Tynecastle. Murray, in particular, has been responsible for the development of the influx of youth emerging within the side and will be keen to continue his tenure at the club.