Steven Naismith announced as interim Hearts manager until end of the season
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The former Scotland international has been in charge of the club’s B team in the Lowland League this campaign. He’ll be assisted by Gordon Forrest, who stays on as part of the first-team coaching staff, and Frankie McAvoy.
Naismith’s first game in charge will come this weekend at Easter Road as Hearts take on arch-rivals Hibs in the cinch Premiership.
Chief executive Andrew McKinlay announced the news in a club statement on Monday evening where he also explained the reasoning behind dispensing with Neilson’s services.
He said: “I am delighted to say that Steven Naismith has agreed to take over as interim manager until the end of the season. Steven has played the game at the highest level possible, and has taken great strides forward in his coaching career with the club’s B Team and at international level with Scotland.
"He will be assisted by Gordon Forrest, who I am also pleased to say has agreed to remain with the club, and Frankie McAvoy, who has a wealth of top level experience and has built up a great working relationship with Steven through the B Team.
"We have great faith in Steven, Gordon and Frankie and will give them the best support possible as we aim to finish the season as strongly as possible.”
Meanwhile, Hearts have announced the departure of co-assistant manager Lee McCulloch. The former Rangers and Scotland midfielder has been part of Neilson’s coaching staff since joining prior to the beginning of the 2020/21 season.
A short club statement read: “Heart of Midlothian can confirm that co-assistant manager Lee McCulloch has today left the club.
“Lee joined Hearts in August 2020 as part of Robbie Neilson’s backroom staff and played a huge role in the club’s journey back to the top flight, to two Scottish Cup Finals and into the group stages of the Europa Conference League.
“The club would like to thank Lee for all of his hard work and we wish him well in the future.”