Hearts manager search moves to next stage after four candidates are interviewed

Ann Budge ready to turn attention to coaches already in work
Hearts owner Ann Budge is interviewing for a new managerHearts owner Ann Budge is interviewing for a new manager
Hearts owner Ann Budge is interviewing for a new manager

Hearts' managerial search will move to the next stage after they interviewed Neil McCann, Stuart McCall, Jack Ross and Steve Cotterill for the job.

The Edinburgh club have spoken to a first round of candidates and are now preparing approaches for other targets who are mostly employed elsewhere. Ross is already out of contention having taken charge of Hearts' city rivals, Hibs.

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McCann last managed Dundee before being sacked in October 2018. McCall was dismissed by Scunthorpe United in March this year, Ross lost his job at Sunderland last month, whilst Cotterill has been unemployed since leaving Birmingham City in March 2018.

Other out-of-work managers will not be disregarded and may still come into contention at some stage. The Hearts owner Ann Budge is keen to do due diligence and not rush any appointment, so she will consider candidates from many different backgrounds over the coming weeks.

The quartet already interviewed were all on Budge's "out-of-work" shortlist and she plans to make formal approaches to speak with people at other clubs soon. One of those is the Motherwell manager, Stephen Robinson.

Hearts would need permission from Fir Park to speak to the Northern Irishman and, were they to then offer him the manager's job, compensation would stretch into six figures. That money would not dissuade Budge.

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She sat on Hearts' interview panel this week alongside coach Donald Park and a club lawyer. She wants an experienced replacement after sacking former manager Craig Levein two weeks ago but will not make a quick appointment.

Austin MacPhee is likely to remain as interim manager for the Premiership trip to Kilmarnock a week on Saturday. His temporary reign will likely extend beyond that as Hearts are determined to explore many options to ensure they get the right man to succeed Levein.

The experienced German coach Felix Magath has submitted his CV for the manager's position but, so far, has not been contacted for an interview. Hearts also intend to appoint a sporting director to work alongside the new manager. Both men would report to Budge.