HEARTS will offer their Scottish Cup-winning manager Paulo Sergio a new contract within a matter of days, with club officials now in the “final phase” of discussions before putting a formal proposal to the Portuguese coach.
Saturday’s 5-1 mauling of Hibs at Hampden Park intensified calls for Sergio to stay at Tynecastle. The contract he signed upon replacing Jim Jefferies last August expires at the end of this month but Hearts will offer an extension by the end of this week.
“We have already been dealing with this for some time, but the final phase is this week,” said Sergejus Fedotovas, the Hearts director, speaking to the Evening News this morning. Fedotovas had initially identified June as the time to make a decision on Sergio’s future. However, the cup success means that plan has been revised and Hearts will move to extend Sergio’s contract quickly.
“The club want to keep Paulo Sergio,” said David Southern, the Hearts managing director. “We hope he chooses to stay as the Heart of Midlothian manager, and we’ll find out in hopefully not too long a period.”
Sergio returned to Portugal at the weekend complaining of an impasse in talks with the Tynecastle hierarchy. He is eager to finalise plans for next season and will now have the opportunity to do so should he accept the contract offered.
Two men who will not be part of next year’s squad are strikers Stephen Elliott, who played his last game in Saturday’s cup final victory, and Gary Glen. They have been released along with 20-year-old forward Jordan Morton.
“I have had a great couple of years here and to go out in that manner was just amazing,” said Elliott. “I’m leaving with a Scottish Cup winner’s medal so I would have to say my time here has been a success.”
Glen was not involved in the final but took part in the post-match celebrations. “It was great to go out on such a high and I’d like to wish the lads the best of luck for next season,” he said. “I’d like to thank the fans for their support during my time at the club and I’m now looking forward to taking the next step in my career.”