John McGlynn admits he is still proud of his achievement of leading Hearts to the League Cup final at a time when Vladimir Romanov’s ruinous reign started to unravel.
The former manager McGlynn masterminded a penalties victory over Inverness in January 2013 – five months before the Tynecastle outfit plunged into administration with debts of £25 million.
However, McGlynn was sacked just two weeks before Hearts lost the final 3-2 to St Mirren in March that year, even though he had little control over the behind the scenes turmoil – which included a signing ban – affecting results on the pitch.
heartsMcGlynn, who left his scouting role for Celtic to return to as Raith Rovers manager last month, has watched Premiership leaders Hearts go strength on and off the pitch under current boss Craig Levein and owner Ann Budge.
And as the Gorgie club prepare to face the Bhoys in Sunday’s Betfred Cup semi-final at Murrayfield, McGlynn admits the health of the club today is a far cry to what he experienced.
McGlynn, who replaced Scottish Cup winning margin and cult hero Paulo Sergio in summer 2012, said: “It was a proud moment to lead Hearts to the final and especially for it to come so early in my tenure at the club.
“There was the disappointment that I didn’t take the team out to Hampden on that particular day.
“I was at Hampden, Hearts invited me along. It would have been nice if it had come off, it was looking promising but it was unfortunate it did not materialise.
“At the time of the semi-final, there were a number issues going on off the pitch that the players rose above all the time, basically.
“There had been times before I went back when the players had faced delayed in getting paid and we had a touch of that.
“But I think behind the scenes, the hierarchy knew it was only a matter of time. From my own point of view I didn’t know that.
“There was a lot going on and as the weeks and months went on, then of course everyone knows that Hearts went into administration.
“From the team that won at Hampden in the Scottish Cup in May, virtually half that team disappeared in the summer and that was obviously a sign because we couldn’t bring anyone in.”
McGlynn was a coach for 11 years at Hearts before taking on the reins at Raith for a first time in November 2006 and was also part of the George Burley era that saw the team lead the top-flight before eventually having to settle for second at the end of the 2005/06 campaign.
McGlynn, however, is happy his former club have now reestablished themselves as a major force in Scottish football.
He added: “That was one of the lowest points for Hearts during the problems off the field and now they’re back to be the strongest they’ve been since then.
“They are still in this cup and at the top of the Premiership.
“The last time it was the George Burley era, which I was also apart of and a great time to be involved – and I’m sure the players and the people involved are loving every minute of it.
“The fans are going in huge numbers and Murrayfield will be packed on Sunday, it should be a great atmosphere.
Asked if regretted taking on the Hearts post given the club’s financial problems, McGlynn, who was also sacked after leading Livingston to the Challenge Cup final in 2014, added: “I would always have taken the job but with hindsight it was difficult and a difficult period for everyone, the fans – the team; we had injuries and we had signings embargoes with signing players and I thought we actually wheeled and dealed as best as we possibly could to get the club into that situation that they were in a cup final.
“It was a testing and challenging time.
“I managed to take them to a cup final, I went to Livingston and took them to a cup final and never took them out either, so I’ll not be taking Raith Rovers to a cup final – said in jest.”