Next Hearts manager: 7 candidates for Tynecastle hotseat - former striker, darling of support, Dortmund coach

Hearts are on the hunt for a new manager after they parted company with Robbie Neilson on Sunday.

Despite the Jambos’ recent poor form, slipping down to fourth in the cinch Premiership and fan anger, the decision on Easter Day came somewhat out of the blue. It is unlikely that the Hearts hierarchy will rush their next appointment, although no word has come through as yet as to who might even take over in a caretaker capacity. The news came as such a shock that not even the bookies have a market open for the next manager. However, we will run the rule over some of the early candidates for the job and some names that might just enter the fray.

Steven Naismith: A former Hearts player and currently coach of the club’s Lowland League team, the 36-year-old may be handed the reins on an interim basis as the club takes stock over the next permanent manager. There may also be the hope that the ex-Scotland striker, who now also part of Steve Clarke’s national team coaching staff, could replicate what Barry Robson has done at Aberdeen and get an immediate bounce out of the current squad. He has very little management experience but is well-respected within Tynecastle and regarded as a promising coach.

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Stephen Robinson: The 48-year-old St Mirren manager put the final nail in Robbie Neilson’s coffin with a 2-0 win at Tynecastle over the weekend. He has done a fine job in Paisley this term and was heavily linked with the Hearts job in 2019 before Daniel Stendel was appointed. He was keen to move east back then and while the Buddies are motoring along nicely under his watch, the vacancy in Gorgie could attract his attention.

Steven Naismith could be handed the reins on an interim basis.Steven Naismith could be handed the reins on an interim basis.
Steven Naismith could be handed the reins on an interim basis.

David Martindale: While Livingston are on a poor run of form and battling for a place in the top-six of the Premiership, the job the 48-year-old has done in West Lothian has been remarkable at times given his budget. He has often said he has no desire to leave Livingston and he has not been in contention for jobs such as Aberdeen recently despite his rising stock.

Paulo Sergio: The Portuguese guided Hearts to Scottish Cup glory in 2012 and has a strong affinity with the club and its fanbase. Currently managing Portimonense in the Primeira Liga, he has spoken of his want to come back and manage Hearts again one day. Would be a sentimental choice.

Mike Tullberg: A former Hearts striker, the 37-year-old Dane currently manages Borussia Dortmund’s Under-19 team. He was back in Edinburgh earlier this year as his charges overcame Hibs in the UEFA Youth League and spoke fondly of the Jambos. He is an up-and-coming coach in Europe and could be the type of candidate Hearts will look at, although in a recent interview with The Scotsman, he said that he is extremely happy in his current role in Germany. Was recently linked with some Bundesliga roles.

Danny Cowley: The 44-year-old Englishman has been out of work since January after leaving Portsmouth. However, his stock is still high following excellent work at Lincoln City and also Huddersfield Town. Worked his way up from non-league in England and would fit into Hearts’ current football department structure.

Mike Tullberg is doing a fine job with Borussia Dortmund's youth team.Mike Tullberg is doing a fine job with Borussia Dortmund's youth team.
Mike Tullberg is doing a fine job with Borussia Dortmund's youth team.

Martí Cifuentes: The 40-year-old Spanish coach was recently linked with Aberdeen on the back of guiding Hammarby to a third-placed finish in Sweden’s Allsvenskan, and could tick some of the boxes if Hearts want to look at a foreign coach who is climbing the football ladder.



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