Hearts confirm Steven Naismith to remain in charge at Tynecastle

The former Scotland international will be in charge of the first team, but as technical director for Uefa Conference League purposes.

Hearts have announced that Steven Naismith is to remain in charge of the first team at Tynecastle after acting as interim manager in the final weeks of the season.

The former Scotland international has been appointed to the role of technical director, while Frankie McAvoy is officially named as head coach. Gordon Forrest has been named as first team coach.

However, Naismith will manage the first team, with the job title down to UEFA rules.

The 36-year-old is currently enrolled in the UEFA Pro License course, which all coaches need to manage in European competition. McAvoy will be the designated coach for Hearts’ matches in the Europa Conference League next season to satisfy the governing body’s requirements.

Chief executive Andrew McKinlay told the official Hearts Website: “We are thrilled to confirm Steven, Frankie and Gordon as our coaching team.
“We received a number of excellent applications, and, after a robust recruitment process, we believe the three were the best candidates to lead us into next season while sharing our vision for the club’s future.
“Steven is an outstanding young coach with a strong track record of improving players whilst also displaying a commitment to blooding young talent through the ranks.
“Frankie has vast experience from his time coaching on both sides of the border and possesses an impressive track record of developing talent. Gordon, of course, is very familiar with the club already. He’s an outstanding presence on the training pitch and a very gifted coach.
“I’m sure our supporters will join me in congratulating all three and wishing them every success.”

Naismith was in charge of Hearts’ ‘B’ team in the Lowland League when he was asked to step up to the position of interim manager after Robbie Neilson was sacked in April.

Hearts lost 1-0 away to city rivals Hibs in his first game in charge but thumped Ross County 6-1 the following week.

Naismith then oversaw one win, one defeat and three draws in the remaining matches as the Tynecastle side finished fourth in the league and earned a place in the Europa Conference League qualifiers.

Hearts sporting director Joe Savage is confident that the new coaching team can make an impact and help the players progress.

“We’ve been really impressed with all three of them, there’s a fantastic dynamic there and we believe they’ve earned this opportunity,” he said.
“They want to continue playing in a style that the fans like and the players enjoy. I think the performances spoke for themselves; you could tell the players really bought into what they were trying to achieve.
“Steven has had a wonderful playing career and worked towards this for a long time. He’s got a style and identity that I like and agree with. I think we’ll work together well to develop and enhance this team.
“I’ve known Frankie a long time from working together at Hamilton, Norwich and Preston. He brings a wealth of experience and has a history of developing young players who have been sold for millions of pounds. In his time as Academy Director, you can see the influence he’s had already.
“Speak to anyone about Gordon Forrest: and they’ll tell you what a top coach he is. Gordon’s brilliant on the grass, brilliant in taking sessions and that’s been utilised really well. They’re all good foils for each other and bounce ideas around together.
“The aim now is to be as successful as we can be. The first stop is to try and get through the European qualifiers which presents a challenge, but one we believe that we’re capable of rising to.
“The sky’s the limit. The three have shown in a short space of time what good ideas they have. Let’s see how far we can go because we’ve got a great chance to build something really special at Hearts.”

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