Hearts poised to make a final decision on Steven Naismith's future as manager
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Steven Naismith expects his future to be clarified imminently as Hearts prepare to make a final decision on whether to appoint him manager permanently. The 36-year-old wants the job after taking interim charge for the final seven games of the season and stressed that he sees little benefit reverting to his previous role as the club’s B team coach.
Hearts recorded two wins, three draws and two defeats under Naismith, who took over after Robbie Neilson was sacked last month. The Edinburgh club sat fourth in the Premiership at the time and, after ending the campaign with Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Hibs at Tynecastle, they finished in that position to secure a place in the Europa Conference League qualifying rounds.
Naismith will take some time off this week before joining the Scotland squad in his coaching capacity ahead of European Championship qualifiers against Norway and Georgia. He expects to know his future before going on international duty, indicating that news could be forthcoming early this week.
“There is no exact date. I expect to be told sooner rather than later,” Naismith told the Evening News. “If it’s me or it’s not me, there have been seven weeks of the club having their understanding of what they want to do. If it’s someone else then that might be in their mind. They can still tell me it’s not me. I would expect it to be over the early part of the week.
“I think I’ve done a good job. I think I’m ready for management so we will see what the conversation is going to be. The club have got a good style of play under what we’ve done. I think somebody could watch the game and see what we want to do. I think you can get an idea of that.
“The morale of the squad, turning that around is a big positive. Tactical changes within the game, how to deal with situations in a game to make sure you are getting a successful result – these are all personal things for me that make me think: ‘Aye, I’m ready for it.’ I’m not going to benefit from being a coach for another year or two years, really. That’s where my mind is.”
Others have been linked with the vacancy as the Hearts board weigh up their options regarding who should lead the team into the 2023/24 campaign. The Evening News revealed last month that representatives of the German coach Thorsten Fink had made contact with the Tynecastle hierarchy.
He boasts a varied and wide-ranging CV with experience of management and coaching across the world. He has never worked in British football, though, and would therefore be regarded as something of an outsider at this stage.
The Celtic coach John Kennedy could become a contender if Hearts decide not to proceed with Naismith. He is interested in management having been a coach and assistant at Parkhead under managers Ronny Deila, Brendan Rodgers, Neil Lennon and Ange Postecoglou. Kennedy is a name Tynecastle officials are aware of.