Gary Naysmith returns to Hearts in loan management role

Gary Naysmith has returned to Hearts as loans manager to oversee the development of the club's young players.
Gary Naysmith is back at HeartsGary Naysmith is back at Hearts
Gary Naysmith is back at Hearts

After spells managing East Fife and Queen of the South, the 40-year-old has taken up a new position at Riccarton. He will monitor all of Hearts' prodigious youngsters as they leave the club on loan to gain first-team experience in the lower divisions.

After a successful playing career in maroon, including a 1998 Scottish Cup winner's medal, Naysmith is delighted to rejoin his formative club and work under manager Craig Levein.

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"After speaking to Craig it became clear that this was a role that he would like to develop and I’m delighted that he’s chosen me to be the loans manager,” Naysmith told the Hearts website. "Even when I was a manager I really liked to try and take younger players, permanently or on loan, from Premiership clubs to try and develop them, and it’s a very similar role.

"In the English Premier League, every club has a loans manager. A few teams in Scotland have them too and I do think it’s a role that is going to get bigger and grow in importance as the seasons go on.

"I’m going to have a big input in which club the player goes to. You need to make sure he’s playing at a level that his ability should be playing at - i.e., if it’s too hard then he’s not going to play but if it’s too easy then he won’t learn anything.

"We’ve got to make sure it’s a club suited to the player. For example, there is no point sending a ball-playing midfielder to a team that goes back to front. So there is a bit of homework involved in identifying the right clubs and once we do get boys out on loan it's then up to me to keep an eye on their progress, manage other scouts who will be working underneath me and make sure we’re covering everybody on a regular basis.

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"Then we can report back to the management team about progress, and sometimes lack of progress, that players are making. It’s important that when the players go out on loan, they realise they’re doing so to benefit their careers. It can be quite easy for a younger player to go out on loan and feel that he’s going to be forgotten about. I’ll have regular contact with these lads so they don’t feel left out.

"It’s important that I build up relationships with the players. I don’t know them that well just now but I’ve been coming in for a wee while now to try to get to know them. They have to come to me with any problems they have because I’m trying to take it away from the first-team management.

“I hope it’s good for the boys to have me in this position. I think it helps that Craig has put his trust in me. I went to watch Alex Petkov at the weekend for Clyde and I thought he did quite well, given he’d only had one training session with them. I saw a couple of things that could be improved upon, so if I can get footage from that game then I can clip it and show my feedback to Alex on a one-to-one basis.

"I’m very grateful that Craig trusts me to be able to do things like that. I want to help the players become better, to benefit their careers and if we can do that they it can only benefit Hearts."