Hearts head coach Frankie McAvoy insists: 'I make the final decision'

Hearts head coach Frankie McAvoy insists the final decision is his to make among the club’s new management team.
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The former Preston North End boss was given the title early last month when the Tynecastle side announced McAvoy, Steven Naismith and Gordon Forrest as the permanent successors to Robbie Neilson, who was sacked in April.

Naismith took charge of the team for the final seven games of the 2022/23 season with McAvoy and Forrest as his assistants. The former Scottish international was ultimately hired as technical director due to him lacking a Pro-License coaching badge, which means he doesn’t fit the criteria for managing a club in European football, something which could land Hearts with a hefty fine from the governing body.

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It is widely assumed Naismith will officially become the head coach once his coaching badges are in order or Hearts drop out of European competition, whichever comes first, but in the meantime McAvoy is adamant he is the man in charge.

Head coach Frankie McAvoy, right, alongside technical director Steven Naismith and first-team coach Gordon Forrest. Picture: SNSHead coach Frankie McAvoy, right, alongside technical director Steven Naismith and first-team coach Gordon Forrest. Picture: SNS
Head coach Frankie McAvoy, right, alongside technical director Steven Naismith and first-team coach Gordon Forrest. Picture: SNS

“What we do is we work collaboratively together, the three of us,” he told the Daily Record.

“We’ll discuss the team, how we think we’ll play. But ultimately I’ll make the final decision on who is going to start, if there is any difference. I’ll call the end shot in terms of team selection. Is Steven happy with that? Of course he is. He has told me he is so hopefully!

“I’m a wee bit more experienced than Naisy and Gordy. Listen, we had a good chat about how it would work and we are happy with the dynamics. We worked together as a group the last seven games.

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“Very rarely did we have a real argument although there were times we had a difference of opinion. We will do again going forward but ultimately I’ll decide who plays. That’s it.”

Hearts technical director Steven Naismith and head coach Frankie McAvoy in training. Picture: SNSHearts technical director Steven Naismith and head coach Frankie McAvoy in training. Picture: SNS
Hearts technical director Steven Naismith and head coach Frankie McAvoy in training. Picture: SNS

Hearts fans are becoming increasingly frustrated and concerned this summer over a lack of signings. The club have yet to add anybody to the first-team squad and have missed out on some targets, including Japanese winger Kanji Okunuki and Australian speedster Sammy Silvera, the latter of which is set to join Middlesbrough.

McAvoy insists there is plenty of work being put in behind the scenes to get some deals over the line and they hope to be announcing new signings sooner rather than later.

“Collectively we look at targets, then when we get down to the finer details,” he said. “Naisy will deal with that as technical director along with Joe who will hopefully be able to do his magic and get deals over the line. But it has to be deals that suit us as well as the player. I don’t think there’s any need to rush in for a player we’re not all 100 per cent on.

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“But we have targets there and we’re working behind the scenes to hopefully get something done. Joe’s contacts throughout Europe are massive.

“What we’ve done is look everywhere rather than just inwards. We need to look at all the different metrics, there’s so much information and stats available that you can watch and clip. We’ve spent a lot of time doing that and hopefully we’ll be able to get some in in not too long.”