Robbie Neilson close to Hearts return as compensation talks with Dundee United progress

Former manager ready to go back to Tynecastle
Hearts are keen to bring Robbie Neilson back to Tynecastle.Hearts are keen to bring Robbie Neilson back to Tynecastle.
Hearts are keen to bring Robbie Neilson back to Tynecastle.

Hearts are close to bringing Robbie Neilson back to Tynecastle Park as manager and hope to confirm the appointment as soon as possible.

Talks with Dundee United over compensation are progressing and Neilson is prepared to rejoin his former club three and a half years since leaving for MK Dons.

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Hearts manager Daniel Stendel is out of contract following the club’s relegation to the Championship and Neilson is now firm favourite to replace him.

The 40-year-old steered United to the Championship title last season and would be tasked with the same responsibility if his return to Hearts goes through.

Neilson was head coach at Tynecastle during a record-breaking promotion-winning campaign in 2014/15. He left for MK Dons in November 2016 and Hearts’ fortunes have dipped since.

Ann Budge, the club owner, has made bringing Neilson back to Edinburgh her priority and is hopeful of concluding compensation talks.

It is unclear at this stage who his backroom team would be, but Hearts reserve coach Andy Kirk and goalkeeping coach Paul Gallacher will be involved after signing new contracts earlier this month.

Neilson may try to bring coaches Gordon Forrest and Lee McCulloch with him from Tannadice.

Although he would manage in the Premiership if he stays with United, Neilson is intrigued by the prospect of rebuilding Hearts in the second tier once more.

He was appointed head coach after Budge gained control of the club in 2014 and oversaw a dramatic transformation in two and a half years.

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After winning the 2015 Championship title in record-breaking fashion, he guided newly-promoted Hearts to third place and a spot in the Europa League qualifying rounds in his first season back in the top flight.

Neilson left the club sitting second in the Premiership after a 2-0 home win against Rangers in November 2016 – deciding that his future at that stage lay in England.

United appointed him manager in October 2018 but the lure of Hearts is now tempting him back to Gorgie.

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