Hearts confirm management team with Steven Naismith given new title and contract length finalised

Tynecastle officials made their decision after deliberating.
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Steven Naismith has been given the role of technical director by Hearts with Frankie McAvoy named head coach. Gordon Forrest remains first-team coach, with all three signed contracts until 2025 carrying the option of a further year.

Naismith will continue to lead the team as a defacto manager but, given he does not possess a UEFA Pro Licence, McAvoy takes the title of head coach for next season. A head coach must hold a Pro Licence in order to operate in European competition and Hearts will enter the Europa Conference League qualifying rounds come August.

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The Tynecastle directors met to finalise their decision on Tuesday, which ends the uncertainty over who will replace Robbie Neilson. He was dismissed in early April and Naismith oversaw the final seven games of the season.

Hearts chief executive Andrew McKinlay told the club website: “We are thrilled to confirm Steven, Frankie and Gordon as our coaching team. We received a number of excellent applications, and, after a robust recruitment process, we believe the three were the best candidates to lead us into next season while sharing our vision for the club’s future.

“Steven is an outstanding young coach with a strong track record of improving players whilst also displaying a commitment to blooding young talent through the ranks.

“Frankie has vast experience from his time coaching on both sides of the border and possesses an impressive track record of developing talent. Gordon, of course, is very familiar with the club already. He’s an outstanding presence on the training pitch and a very gifted coach. I’m sure our supporters will join me in congratulating all three and wishing them every success.”

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Sporting director Joe Savage said: “We’ve been really impressed with all three of them, there’s a fantastic dynamic there and we believe they’ve earned this opportunity. They want to continue playing in a style that the fans like and the players enjoy. I think the performances spoke for themselves; you could tell the players really bought into what they were trying to achieve.

Steven Naismith has been given the title of technical director by Hearts.Steven Naismith has been given the title of technical director by Hearts.
Steven Naismith has been given the title of technical director by Hearts.

“Steven has had a wonderful playing career and worked towards this for a long time. He’s got a style and identity that I like and agree with. I think we’ll work together well to develop and enhance this team.

“I’ve known Frankie a long time from working together at Hamilton, Norwich and Preston. He brings a wealth of experience and has a history of developing young players who have been sold for millions of pounds. In his time as Academy Director, you can see the influence he’s had already.

“Speak to anyone about Gordon Forrest: and they’ll tell you what a top coach he is. Gordon’s brilliant on the grass, brilliant in taking sessions and that’s been utilised really well. They’re all good foils for each other and bounce ideas around together.

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“The aim now is to be as successful as we can be. The first stop is to try and get through the European qualifiers which presents a challenge, but one we believe that we’re capable of rising to.

“The sky’s the limit. The three have shown in a short space of time what good ideas they have. Let’s see how far we can go because we’ve got a great chance to build something really special at Hearts.”