Jon Daly: Hearts coaching ‘too good to turn down’

Jon Daly will hang up his boots in the New Year with “excitement” after confessing he found the opportunity to cut his teeth as the under-20s coach at Hearts under Craig Levein too hard to turn down.

Jon Daly's move to Hearts was unexpected. Picture: Walter Neilson

The former Dundee United and Rangers striker will see out his short-term contract with Raith Rovers first and is determined to make the most of the two months he has left by ending his playing days on a high.

It is a move into coaching he did not expect to arise until another couple of years further down the line but something he always planned would be the next step in a career that began as a trainee at Stockport County back in 1998.

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The 32-year-old said: “It’s a role I’m excited about getting into in January. I’ll just go and try and learn.

“It’s totally different to being a player and something I’m going to have to get used to as quickly as possible.

“I’m going to have to learn on the job, but it’s a fantastic club and a fantastic opportunity to learn from some good people.

“Craig spoke to me about the role and how it was a fantastic opportunity for me to take the next step in my career. It was something I had planned on doing over the next few years, probably whilst still playing.

“But it’s a really good club and the opportunity was too good to turn down at this stage.

“I’ve a few months of football before that happens, so I need to try to focus on that for now.”

After leaving Rangers at the end of last season, Daly joined Raith in August and has become an important influence on the Kirkcaldy side. Two goals from 11 appearances do not tell the whole story and manager Ray McKinnon had been hopeful of convincing the Dubliner to stay for the rest of the season.

Instead, Daly will call time on his time on his playing career to work under old Dundee United manager Levein and Jambos head coach Robbie Neilson.

He added: “It has come a bit earlier in my career than I envisaged. I had maybe planned on playing for a few more years and trying to get into this over the next few years.

“But it’s a fantastic opportunity to work under someone like Craig and Robbie, and to try and learn. As far as I know I’ll be hanging up the boots and just going in as a coach.

“The next two months with Raith is probably going to be my last time playing, so they’re games I want to do well in. I was delighted to get the opportunity to come into Raith and I want to finish on a high note and help the lads the best I can.

“I would like to leave Raith in a position where they’re cemented in the play-offs and they can kick on for the rest of the season.”