Paulo Sergio’s future remains uncertain at Hearts

THE subject of Paulo Sergio’s future refuses to go away. It will linger until he either signs a new contract with Hearts or announces his departure. The Portuguese feels the ball is firmly in the club’s court regarding whether he stays or goes.

Talks between Sergio and Hearts directors have taken place and indications are that the board would like to retain the services of their manager. Sergio has said publicly that he wants to keep his job, so there would at least appear to be foundations for negotiation.

As for when Vladimir Romanov, Sergejus Fedotovas, or anyone else in power at Hearts might come across with a formal contract offer is anyone’s guess. They are taking their time. As is their right, of course.

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Sergio refuses to panic and is extremely laid back about the matter. He has dealt with most issues that way since replacing Jim Jefferies at Tynecastle last August. He knows tomorrow’s SPL meeting with St Johnstone could be his last home match in charge of Hearts. He won’t demand answers, it isn’t his style. He will leave his future to the club hierarchy.

“I don’t know when my future will be decided,” he said. “If I want you to sign a contract with me, I’m going to call you and say ‘come on, let’s sit together and make a decision’. The timing is not mine. It’s not me who should be asking the board to sit with me round a table and take a decision.

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“We have been talking. People showed to me that they want me to stay, but the next move, it’s not Paulo who should be making it. The people who have to take the next step at those ones who pay [salaries].”

Being content to sit back and, by doing so, empower others could see Sergio’s stock rise further in Lithuania where Romanov and Fedotovas are based. He has already made a reasonable fist of guiding Hearts through a season peppered with unforeseen difficulties and is a popular figure with the club’s support.

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Despite many delays with salaries being paid and the loss of experienced first-team regulars like Eggert Jonsson, Ryan Stevenson and Marian Kello, Sergio has kept Hearts challenging in the league. They secured a place in the top six and enter something of European showdown tomorrow against a St Johnstone side vying with them for a place in the Europa League’s qualifying rounds.

Added to that, Sergio has overseen progress to the Scottish Cup final. Not just any cup final, but one against Edinburgh rivals Hibs – a game which has captured imaginations all across the country.

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Given all that effort, it would be something of a shame were Hearts to pack Sergio and his assistants back home to Portugal at the end of the campaign. “I’m not thinking like that,” he said, when asked if he believed tomorrow could become his last game at Tynecastle.

“Of course, that doesn’t just depend on me. I’m never worried about the future. Our future is today. If you do well today, I’m sure that tomorrow the sun is going to be shining. If you forget to do what you should do every single day, then maybe tomorrow it’s raining.

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“Live your day, do what you want, live 100 per cent every minute of your life and things come naturally to you. That’s the way I live and that’s the things I believe.”