Hearts target Jose Couceiro is ‘disgusted’ to be linked with club
JOSE Couceiro has expressed his “disgust” at the prospect of succeeding his close friend and Portuguese compatriot Paulo Sergio as the manager of Hearts.
Heavily linked with the vacant post since Sergio rejected a new contract offer last week, 49-year-old Couceiro is currently unemployed after his departure from Lokomotiv Moscow last month.
But Couceiro, who previously worked for Hearts owner Vladimir Romanov when he had a spell in charge of his Lithuanian club Kaunas, seems to have firmly ruled himself out of contention for the Tynecastle job.
“I categorically deny that I have had any contact with the owner of Hearts and it is therefore not true to suggest I will be their new manager,” said Couceiro. “I’m frankly disgusted that my name is being associated with this news.”
Couceiro worked alongside Sergio at Sporting Lisbon last year, when the pair were director of football and head coach respectively, and it is understood they remain in close contact.
Another prospective candidate for the Hearts position, former Polish international midfielder Piotr Nowak, also distanced himself from it yesterday. The 47-year-old, currently in charge of MLS club Philadelphia Union, said: “It is absolutely false to say that I have applied to be Hearts manager.”
Nowak, a former assistant manager of the USA national team, has spent all of his coaching career in America but is currently under pressure with Philadelphia sitting near the foot of the MLS with just two wins from their first 11 games of the campaign. Closer to home, more enthusiasm for the vacancy at Tynecastle has been expressed by former Hearts midfielder Paul Hartley. The 35-year-old has just enjoyed a successful maiden season in management which saw him guide Alloa Athletic to the Third Division title.
But it remains to be seen whether Hartley would be considered by Hearts owner Romanov, given the former Scotland international’s part in mutiny against Romanov back in the 2006-07 season. Along with Steven Pressley and Craig Gordon, Hartley became the public face of disaffection in the Hearts playing squad when the so-called “Riccarton Three” declared “significant unrest” at the club during Eduard Malofeev’s brief reign.
Two years ago, it was claimed a move by Hearts to re-sign Hartley from Bristol City collapsed when he refused to sign an agreement renouncing his part in what Romanov perceived as “traitorous” conduct. Hartley instead joined Aberdeen. But he has stressed he would now welcome the opportunity to be interviewed by Hearts for the managerial position as they conduct their search for a replacement for Scottish Cup winning boss Sergio.
“If Hearts want to speak to me about a role at the club, I’d be delighted,” said Hartley. “It is flattering to be linked with a job as huge as the Hearts one. I must be doing something right.
“I spent some happy years with the club and they will always remain dear to me. But any talk just now is speculation. For now though I am concentrating on Alloa. I’m trying to bring in new players to build on last season. We can still keep climbing.”
Jimmy Calderwood, meanwhile, has presented Hearts with a more experienced option for the role. The 57-year-old has revealed he would welcome a return to the SPL and that the financial restructuring ongoing at the Gorgie club would not dampen his enthusiasm.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Sunday 19 May 2013
Temperature: 10 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 9 C to 20 C
Wind Speed: 7 mph
Wind direction: West