Dougie Freedman has dropped out of the running for the vacant head coach’s job at Hearts after being appointed as Crystal Palace’s new sporting director.
The former Scotland internationalist was thought to have been included on a five-man short-list to succeed Ian Cathro but has instead returned to a club he played for and managed.
Former England manager Steve McLaren had also been a candidate for the Gorgie outfit but he sealed his return to football on Monday after being unveiled as a football consultant for Israeli side Maccabi Tel Aviv.
Hearts interim boss Jon Daly, ex-Hearts players Steven Pressley and Paul Hartley and one-time Nottingham Forest manager Billy Davies are still understood to be under consideration for the Tynecastle post.
Freedman, who had been out of worked since being sacked as Nottingham Forest manager in March 2016, was interviewed by Hearts owner Ann Budge but has now decided to return to Selhurst Park to offer his support to manager and former Rangers defender Frank de Boer.
Palace chairman Steve Parish said: “This is a position I have been looking to fill for a while, someone to work with the manager, myself and head of recruitment, Tim Coe on all the footballing aspects of the club.
“I’m delighted that Dougie has agreed to accept the position and look forward to continuing Crystal Palace’s progression to become a solid Premier League club with the right infrastructure.”
Holland legend de Boer, whose side have lost their opening two English Premier League matches, said: “I always worked with a sporting director during my time as manager at Ajax and I felt this was a position the club needed, I am looking forward to working with Dougie in this transfer window and beyond.”
Earlier on Monday, McLaren confirmed that he was no longer in the running to replace Cathro, who was his assistant at Newcastle United, after taking on a role at Maccabi.
McLaren, who had been out of work since losing his manager’s job at Derby County for a second time in March, will support boss Jordi Cruyff.
McLaren said: “I have huge respect for such a well-known club, both in Israel and in Europe.
“I intend to help Jordi and the players achieve success for the fans this season.”