John McGlynn returns to Tynecastle as Vladimir Romanov’s tenth manager

JOHN McGlynn’s appointment as the tenth Hearts manager of the Vladimir Romanov era was confirmed last night.

The 50-year-old leaves Raith Rovers after five and a half years in charge to return to the club where he spent ten years as a coach between 1996 and 2006. His decade at Tynecastle included two short spells as caretaker manager where he experienced Romanov’s style at first-hand.

Recent history shows managers at Hearts tend to have a short shelf life and McGlynn has agreed a one-year contract with the option for another year.

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He is charged with succeeding Paulo Sergio, whose final act was to bring the Scottish Cup back to Gorgie in emphatic fashion, defeating Hibernian 5-1 in the final.

Sergio and Hearts parted company after the Portuguese rejected the club’s offer of a new contract on drastically reduced terms.

McGlynn’s appointment chimes with the new sense of austerity at Tynecastle, with Romanov determined to make the club more self-sufficient and less reliant on the funding of Ubig, the investment group which owns Hearts.

The club released a number of highly-paid players at the end of the season, including Ian Black and Stephen Elliot, and it seems likely Craig Beattie, Rudi Skacel and Suso Santana have also played their last games for Hearts.

The core of the cup-winning side remains, however, and McGlynn will be expected to augment this with the best of the club’s youngsters.

“John’s track record in developing young players is outstanding,” said a Hearts spokesperson, “and one of the key criteria for the appointment was an ability to successfully integrate youngsters into a senior squad which can compete competitively at the top end of the table.

“He also knows the club intimately having previously spent ten years as a coach here and we are confident he can take the club forward and build on the success of last season’s William Hill Scottish Cup triumph. We would also like to put on record our appreciation of Raith Rovers’ co-operation in this matter and wish them all the best for the forthcoming season.”

McGlynn has already worked with a number of the Hearts youngsters after they were loaned out to Raith last season. Midfielders Jason Holt and Denis Prychynenko had spells at Stark’s Park before returning to Tynecastle, where they were used sparingly in the Hearts first team towards the end of the season. The club will now hope they can step up to help fill the sizeable gap left by the influential Black. Jamie Walker and Jonathan Stewart were two more who were loaned to Raith, with Walker in particular catching the eye.

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McGlynn first joined Hearts in 1996 and was in charge of the under-18 side which defeated Rangers 5-3 in the final to win the Scottish Youth Cup in 2000. He is now relishing the chance to manage in the SPL. “I’m looking forward to it and I’m delighted to be back,” he told the Hearts website. “It’s been five and half good years at Raith Rovers and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

Talking about his decision to leave Stark’s Park, he said: “It is a wrench to leave Raith Rovers. It’s been really good there and we’ve had some good times but it’s time for a move as well. I’m ambitious and I’m delighted to be back in the SPL and with a club that’s close to my heart.

“I spent 10/11 years here previously and I know the players and I know the younger players coming through as I’ve worked with a few of them at Raith Rovers.

“That’s obviously the way the club’s going to go and I’m looking forward to working with the players.”

His two spells as caretaker manager came in 2005 following the departure, firstly of John Robertson and then George Burley. He was then assistant to Valdas Ivanauskas when Hearts won the Scottish Cup and finished runners-up to Celtic in the SPL in 2006.

He quit Hearts in November 2006 to take over as manager at Raith and guided the Kirkcaldy club to the Second Division title in 2009. He then steered the Fifers to their first Scottish Cup semi-final appearance for nearly 50 years in 2010 and was also voted the PFA Scotland manager of the year in season 2010-11.

He will be formally paraded at a press conference at Tynecastle tomorrow where it is expected he will name his backroom team. Gary Locke, Hearts’ first-team coach, is likely to be a key member of the management side alongside player development manager Darren Murray.

McGlynn’s assistant at Raith was former Dunfermline and Hearts midfielder Paul Smith, who has been put in temporary charge at Stark’s Park, and it remains to be seen if he will follow McGlynn to Tynecastle.

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Hearts’ first-team squad are due to return for pre-season training on Monday and their first fixture offers McGlynn an early return to Raith Rovers with the two clubs scheduled to meet in a testimonial match at Stark’s Park on 14 July.