Friday deadline in Hearts manager search as Ann Budge reveals criteria for new man

Austin MacPhee will be in charge this weekend as coaches are invited to apply for job

Tuesday, 5th November 2019, 6:05 am
Ann Budge has a clear criteria for Hearts' new manager
Ann Budge has a clear criteria for Hearts' new manager

Hearts will accept applications for their vacant manager’s job until Friday as they seek a “very experienced and high-profile” figurehead to revitalise their fortunes.

Owner Ann Budge stated money will not be a barrier if compensation needs paid to another club to secure the desired individual. She intends to begin interviewing next week for the role and will also appoint a sporting director.

That job will involve contract negotiations for players but not responsibility for overseeing the first-team boss. Budge has already received more than 30 CVs from coaches looking to succeed former manager Craig Levein, who was sacked last Thursday with Hearts joint-bottom of the Ladbrokes Premiership.

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She wants a man with experience who can help develop youngsters emerging from the Riccarton youth academy. “We have a criteria and we have already had a host of applications. I want to give it until the end of this week for anyone who wants to throw their hat into the ring,” said Budge.

“Then the sifting process will begin in earnest with the interviewing process next week. Our policy has always been to develop youth, so we want someone comfortable bringing in young players. That is important. Experience is important. Is experience of Scottish football important? It’s something you can’t ignore but not having managed in Scotland would not preclude someone.”

Motherwell’s Stephen Robinson remains a potential candidate and is highly regarded by the Hearts hierarchy given the job he has done at Fir Park. David Moyes stated last night that he is not interested in working for either of the Edinburgh clubs.

Budge explained that there is money available to help lure the right person even if he is already working elsewhere. Hearts received huge donations from mystery benefactors in recent years and may also use their support again.

“The benefactors have been amazing and have pledged their continued support. If we have to do something then we know we have the resources to do it,” said Budge, who will not rush any appointment.

“Whoever takes on this appointment could find themselves in a good position. The core of our team are getting ready to come back [from injury].

“The last two appointments [Ian Cathro and Levein] didn’t work out in the way we wanted. Maybe I’ll be criticised for this but it’s not as if we’re changing every five minutes. Craig in particular has had a long crack at this.

“I won’t be rushed. We’ve got to look far and wide to identify a candidate that we believe has got a very good chance of success. I don’t want to be doing this again in six months or a year’s time.”

Assistant coach Austin MacPhee will continue as interim manager for Saturday’s vital Premiership meeting with St Mirren, who sit bottom of the league jointly with Hearts. “Austin has a big impact in how a number of things operate at the club but I have asked him to basically stand in for as long as it takes,” explained Budge.

“That will definitely be next week, then we have the international break. If we’re lucky we could be in a position to confidently make an appointment. But I’d probably guess he’ll also be in charge for the next game against Kilmarnock.”

As for the long-term futures of MacPhee and fellow coaches Jon Daly and Liam Fox, Hearts must wait to learn who, if anyone, their new manager wants to appoint.

“I think we will have to wait and see,” said Budge. “We have a set-up here but I know how it is in football. I must admit when I first got in to football I found it odd. Okay, a manager might move, but why should you need to change half a dozen jobs for crying out loud? I now realise there may or may not be some other changes, and that’s all part of the selection process.”