Hearts set to appoint new captain supported by 'leadership group'

Hearts management and players will hold talks before finalising the appointment of a new club captain to succeed Steven Naismith.
Tynecastle Park will soon welcome a new captain.Tynecastle Park will soon welcome a new captain.
Tynecastle Park will soon welcome a new captain.

The new skipper will be supported by a small “leadership group” of experienced senior players in the dressing room. The Edinburgh club have worked this way for several seasons and manager Robbie Neilson wants it to continue.

Naismith’s retirement to work in a player development role at Riccarton means the captain’s armband is up for grabs ahead of the new campaign. The former Scotland internationalist was named skipper in January 2020 after Christophe Berra was dropped from the squad.

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Neilson told the Evening News that he already knows who he wants as his on-field leader. Discussions with players will be the final step in the process before the announcement is made.

“I know what I'm going to do but we haven't discussed it with the players yet. I know roughly who is going to be the captain this season,” said Neilson. “We will have our leadership group that we always have as well, so we will put that together.

"The captain is an important role. The person needs to be happy to do it and the rest of the players have to be happy with it as well. You have that wee group round about him who can do it so we will put that together in the next week or two.”

Craig Gordon captained Hearts in Naismith’s absence last season. John Souttar, Michael Smith and Craig Halkett have also donned the armband previously.

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