Hearts appoint Steven Naismith but reveal why Frank McAvoy will be given head coach title

Steven Naismith has been appointed as Hearts technical director but will assume the managerial role.

The former B team coach, who stepped up to guide the first team through the final seven matches of the season following Robbie Neilson’s sacking, will be supported by coaches Frankie McAvoy and Gordon Forrest, with McAvoy being named head coach as Hearts move to circumvent UEFA regulations.

Naismith, who only stopped playing two years ago, does not have his Pro Licence qualification, which is a prerequisite for managing in Europe, but will lead the football team in all but name. Forrest will be first team coach.

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All three have signed contracts until the summer of 2025, with the option of another year.

Steven Naismith has been appointed Hearts manager but will serve under the title of technical director. (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)Steven Naismith has been appointed Hearts manager but will serve under the title of technical director. (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)
Steven Naismith has been appointed Hearts manager but will serve under the title of technical director. (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)

The management trio impressed with two wins, three draws and two defeats as they worked to stop the club’s Premiership slide and safeguard a top four spot with a draw against capital rivals Hibs on the final day. That was enough to guarantee the club another shot at European football.

The news had been widely-anticipated after players and fans, who had been impressed with the brand of football being promoted, threw their weight behind the interim boss, who chose not to meet up with the Scotland national team at this week’s training camp in Spain, despite being a member of Steve Clarke’s backroom staff.

Instead, Naismith met up with the Hearts board in a bid to convince them he is the right man for the job. Alternative options were considered but, following a board meeting on Tuesday night, the former Rangers, Everton, Norwich, and Hearts attacker was given the nod. He will begin work immediately ahead of the first team’s return for pre-season training on June 27.

Paul Gallacher remains in position as goalkeeping coach.

“We are thrilled to confirm Steven, Frankie and Gordon as our coaching team, chief executive Andrew McKinlay told the official Hearts website.

“We received a number of excellent applications, and, after a robust recruitment process, we believe the three were the best candidates to lead us into next season while sharing our vision for the club’s future.

“Steven is an outstanding young coach with a strong track record of improving players whilst also displaying a commitment to blooding young talent through the ranks.

“Frankie has vast experience from his time coaching on both sides of the border and possesses an impressive track record of developing talent. Gordon, of course, is very familiar with the club already. He’s an outstanding presence on the training pitch and a very gifted coach.

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“I’m sure our supporters will join me in congratulating all three and wishing them every success.” Sporting Director Joe Savage said: “We’ve been really impressed with all three of them, there’s a fantastic dynamic there and we believe they’ve earned this opportunity.

“They want to continue playing in a style that the fans like and the players enjoy. I think the performances spoke for themselves; you could tell the players really bought into what they were trying to achieve.

“The aim now is to be as successful as we can be. The first stop is to try and get through the European qualifiers which presents a challenge, but one we believe that we’re capable of rising to. The three have shown in a short space of time what good ideas they have.”



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