OTHERS have pulled out of the race to leave him favourite for the Hearts head coach’s job but Steven Pressley was always head and shoulders above the rest.
That is the opinion of former Dunfermline defender Lee Bullen, a lifelong Jambo and Pressley’s number two during their time together at Falkirk.
Now the current Sheffield Wednesday first-team coach, Bullen saw at first-hand the qualities ‘Elvis’ has as a boss.
And there are no doubts in Bullen’s mind that the 43-year-old, who has been interviewed for the post, has already proven his credentials as a manager and has a love of Hearts that would spur him on to success.
He told @CCP_sport: “Steven has a strong affinity with Hearts and loves Edinburgh, and, personally, I think he would be a great appointment, and that’s no disrespect to anyone else linked with the job.
“He’s said in the past that he would find it very difficult to come back to Scotland but I know Hearts is one of a select few he would come back for.
“He had a fair bit of success as a player at Hearts and has a good relationship with Craig Levein, and would be a strong manager within that structure.
“Some of the other people who have been mentioned in connection with the job have high profiles, they’re all good coaches, with great knowledge and great CVs.
“But I think Steven is the one who fits the job best.”
Billy Davies has become the latest to remove himself from the frame for the post, following the likes of ex-England boss Steve McClaren and Dougie Freedman, who have taken up roles elsewhere.
Davies cited the ‘structure’ at Hearts, where Craig Levein is director of football, as a barrier to him bringing success to the club.
However, it is understood Pressley would have no problems working under Levein, whom he shared a strong working relationship with during his eight-year spell as a player at Tynecastle.
The former Dundee United, Celtic and Rangers defender resigned from his last post as Fleetwood Town boss because of a disagreement over the future direction of the club, but has proved in the past – most notably at administration-hit Coventry City – that he can make the most of even the most trying of circumstances.
Responsible for bringing through the likes of Craig Sibbald, Jay Fulton, Conor McGrandles and Muray Wallace during his time in charge at Falkirk, Pressley would be great for Hearts’ clutch of promising youngsters, according to Bullen.
Bullen added: “People who have never played with him or worked under him often have an opinion of him, but until you actually do work with him you don’t know the real Elvis.
“He is a very, very strong character and someone who studies the game greatly and understands the game tactically. He is very well organised, both with team set-up and in training.
“He treats his players with respect and expects that back. He’ll back his club to the hilt and defend it, and give 100 per cent commitment and expect it back from players and staff.
“At Falkirk, his hands were tied but he was successful in developing the club’s own talent and giving them a chance.
“He proved he wasn’t scared to put young boys in and the club ended up making a few quid from that.
“But he had a bigger job at Coventry when the club was hit with a transfer embargo and points penalty and at one point he looked like he could take them into the play-offs.
“He’s had to deal with a lot in a short time as a manager and that stands him in good stead. I think he would be great for Hearts.”