Jon Daly has been given no indication whether he is a genuine contender to be Hearts’ new head coach. The club’s Under-20 coach is in charge on a temporary basis and believes he has got the desired response from players so far.
A positive result against Rangers at Ibrox tomorrow would strengthen Daly’s case to succeed Ian Cathro massively. However, no-one from the Tynecastle hierarchy has told him whether he is in the running for the job or not.
Steven Pressley, Paul Hartley and Dougie Freedman are the front-runners, with Daly and Falkirk’s Peter Houston ranked as outside bets.
Hearts lost 4-1 at Celtic Park on the Premiership’s opening weekend and then dug out a 1-0 win at Kilmarnock last weekend. Daly is confident he can do the job based on the improvement during his two weeks in charge.
“I think the club know my situation and my stance on it. I’m really happy at Hearts and it’s an ambition of mine to coach and manage at first-team level. Whether that’s now or further down the line, that won’t change,” he told the Evening News.
“I’ve really enjoyed working with the Under-20s but I haven’t had any indication of what the club are thinking or where they’re looking. All I know is what’s been said and written.
“I’ve really enjoyed this. First and foremost, what I wanted from the players was a response. We’ve clearly seen that in the two games that we’ve taken. At 4-0 down against Celtic, the players didn’t stop working or fighting or pushing. That’s why we got a goal back in that game. It was a real positive sign for me.
“Last week’s game was completely different at Kilmarnock. We really needed to dig in and deal with a lot of direct play. I thought we stood up to it really well. I probably would’ve liked us to play a bit more football but, having not won there in four years, you can understand why we had to dig in.
“It’s been enjoyable and a good experience. I hope it continues for a bit longer.”
The Irishman is conscious that a result at Ibrox could totally transform his job prospects. Until told otherwise, he will remain in interim charge, assisted by fellow coaches Austin MacPhee, Liam Fox and Paul Gallacher.
“I’m aware of that and I understand how football works. I’ve been in the game a long time. I understand where the club are at right now,” he said.
“I also understand that, from my perspective, I feel ready to do the job and I feel comfortable in the job. I’ve played at some big football clubs so I understand what fans are after and what they want from their team. We’ve seen in the last couple of games what myself, Austin, Foxy and Gall expect from them.
“They go onto the park knowing there are no mixed messages. They’re aware of exactly what we want and what’s required of them. Hopefully, we can get another positive result tomorrow. Then we’ll take it from there, whether it’s our last game or not.”