Ian Cathro clear front runner for Hearts job

Ian Cathro is the man Hearts want to replace Robbie Neilson
Ian Cathro is the man Hearts want to replace Robbie Neilson
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Ian Cathro is the clear front runner to replace Robbie Neilson as Hearts close in on the Newcastle United assistant manager.

Tynecastle officials are confident of luring Cathro north once Neilson is confirmed as the new manager of MK Dons, which should happen by the end of the week.

Hearts have made it clear the 30-year-old Scot is the man they want to fill the head coach's role and Cathro is keen to take the opportunity.

Director of football Craig Levein is expected to take temporary charge of Hearts this weekend when they visit Ross County, regardless of whether Cathro's appointment comes this week or next.

Neilson will be in the dugout for the final time at Tynecastle when Hearts face Rangers and will then take up his new post in Buckinghamshire.

He was in Milton Keynes yesterday to discuss personal terms with the MK Dons chairman Pete Winkelman. His Hearts assistant Stevie Crawford will almost certainly head south with him.

Cathro worked under Levein at Dundee United, where he was appointed head of the Tannadice youth academy at the age of 22. He has since worked in Portugal as assistant coach of Rio Ave, and in Spain as assistant at Valencia.

He offers a strong coaching CV but Hearts would be his first step into management at a very young age.

Gary Naysmith was another candidate who was considered by Hearts as they seek to replace Neilson and Crawford, but he is in the frame to become the new manager at Queen of the South.