Hearts confirm departure of 18 - including Craig Levein, Joel Pereira and Clevid Dikamona

Players have left or are set to leave after expiry of deals

Hearts have today confirmed the departure of 18 players and members of staff.

In a brief post on the official website, the club thanked “everyone for their efforts at Hearts and we wish them well for the future”.

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Two of the standout names are the former manager and interim boss Craig Levein and Austin MacPhee, both of whom came in for criticism from fans.

Craig Levein is one of 18 to leave Hearts. Picture: SNS

Hearts chief Ann Budge defended the duo’s impact at the club, praising Levein’s influence with the Academy and performance school, while noting the work MacPhee did in building contacts and being an “ideas man”.

She said: “Throughout the club, Craig has been very important to me and both him and Austin have contributed and it was very, very sad the way it ended for both of them. But, especially, for Craig, we know what he has done. He helped us get back up and running again and even stepping into the manager’s job at a very difficult time. People forget the start to last season.”

On the playing side, Budge confirmed on Friday that the vast majority of those out of contract would depart due to the uncertainty regarding the future.

The statement read: “Heart of Midlothian Football Club can today provide an update to supporters concerning squad and staff departures ahead of the 2020/21 season.

“Oliver Bozanic, Clevid Dikamona, Jay Nwanze, Brodie Strang, Craig Levein, Austin MacPhee and Jack Wilson have all left the club following the expiration of their contracts.

“In the coming days Donis Avdijaj, Daniel Baur, Marcel Langer, Steven MacLean, Alex Petkov, Kelby Mason, Dean Ritchie, Rory Currie, Ryotaro Meshino, Joel Pereira and Toby Sibbick will depart Tynecastle upon expiration of their contracts or loan deals.

“The club would like to thank everyone for their efforts at Hearts and we wish them well for the future.”

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Dikamona, a favourite amongst fans, posted a goodbye message on Twitter where he thanked the supporters.

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