Hearts have parted company with manager Robbie Neilson less than 24 hours after the team’s 2-0 home defeat to St Mirren.
Neilson was jeered at full-time, with some fans demanding his removal to allow improvements between now and the end of the season with third place in the Premiership and European places at stake.
The defeat at Tynecastle was the fifth consecutive loss in all competitions and prompted the club to take action to try and arrest the club’s decline in form.
A club statement read: “Heart of Midlothian Football Club can confirm that it has parted company with manager Robbie Neilson.
“Robbie has been a key part of the club’s ascent back to the upper echelons of Scottish football, delivering another Championship title, a third place finish, two Scottish Cup Finals and European group stage football in the process.
“This was an extremely difficult decision to reach, and we would like to thank Robbie for all of his efforts.
“A full statement from the Board of Directors will be released in due course. No further comment will be made today.”
Neilson returned to Tynecastle in June 202 for a second spell in charge, having previously been manager for two-and-a-half years before leaving for MK Dons.
He led the team to the Championship title in 2021 and then guided Hearts to third place in the Premiership last season, securing group stage European football.
The team had been on course to finish third again this season, sitting behind Celtic and Rangers but ahead of the rest of the pack in recent months.
However, a slump in form has allowed other sides to close the gap and Saturday’s defeat to St Mirren, along with Aberdeen’s recent resurgence, saw the team drop to fourth place as the Dons moved up.
The team face Hibernian at Easter Road in the derby next weekend and, speaking on Saturday, Neilson had expressed his hope that the “big game” would be the catalyst for an improvement.
He said: “It’s one where we’d like to be going in with better form, ultimately we’re not, but it’s a chance to try and turn things around.”
Now an interim management team is likely to be in charge for the derby, with Hearts looking to make the right appointment for Neilson’s successor to take the team forward.