Gary Mackay: Forget high profile - I just want a Hearts manager who can get best out of squad
Our Jambos columnist looks what club needs from their next boss
Ann Budge said on Monday that she wants an experienced and high-profile Hearts manager to replace Craig Levein, but for me the only requirement is that the new man is equipped to get the best out of the players at his disposal and play in a way that enthuses the supporters.
We have a lot of good players in that squad, but as a unit they haven’t shown that. There’s no doubt the players are there to do much better than we have been doing. The key thing for the next manager is making sure the players turn it on and that he gets the best out of them collectively.
My main concern about the squad at present is the lack of pace within it. I know we’re not blessed with endless amounts of money, but for the amount of players we’ve signed in recent seasons, it’s astonishing that we have so little pace in the squad to trouble the opposition. Aside from that, I feel like we still look pretty strong in most departments if we can get the best players fit and playing to their potential.
The new man may have to trim the squad slightly to a more manageable number because it looks bloated at the moment. But there is definitely enough quality there to work with and start the process of moving us up the league table. We need someone who can fill these players with the self-belief that they should have and get them playing on the front foot, particularly at Tynecastle. The players need to be made fully aware that if they can get on top of the opposition and play with purpose and intent, they will very quickly get the backing of a magnificent Tynecastle crowd. When this happens, it can become very difficult for the opposition.
The problem, of course, has been that it’s been the opposite in recent seasons. We’ve been too timid in home matches, and the crowd has been so quiet that you can hear individual shouts. That’s not how it should be at Tynecastle. It used to be renowned for being a tough venue for visiting teams, where the crowd got right behind a team trying to play on the front foot, and we need to get back to that. The manager needs to find a way of making the performances on the pitch far more positive and that will very quickly engage the supporters.
It doesn’t matter to me what type of manager we go for, the one thing they must have is the ability to get the best out of a squad of players who should be capable of far better than being joint-bottom of the Premiership in November. I’m not overly concerned by our league position at present because I think we have made the decision to change managers at a good point to allow us to move forward and start climbing the table if we are positive with our next appointment.