Hearts legend Gary Mackay insists Craig Levein should cut ties with club immediately

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Hearts legend Gary Mackay insists sacked manager Craig Levein should cut all ties with the club immediately.

Following weeks of discontent among the fans, owner Ann Budge finally axed Levein from his dugout position and as director of football on Thursday afternoon.

That decision came less than 24 hours after a 1-0 defeat at St Johnstone left the Gorgie outfit just ahead of Premiership basement side St Mirren on goal difference.

Levein was axed as manager and director of football Hearts said in a statement that the former Scotland manager will see out his contract for the rest of the season ‘to develop and improve the structure of the backroom and youth operations.’

However, Mackay, who holds the record for the most appearances for Hearts, insists Budge is wrong to continue to seek guidance from the 55-year-old.

He said: “It’s the correct decision on two counts but incorrect on the third count.

“It’s the correct decision that he is relieved of the manager’s job and as director football. 

“To be staying in any capacity is wrong because it undermines in my opinion the club’s search for a new manager going forward. 

“To be still involved with the description the club have given, the fact we’ve been in a project for over five years and we’re still having to improve, it does not wash with me.

“Is it we can’t just afford to pay him off between now and the end of the season, or is he just hanging on hoping he’ll get another testimonial?

“When he left Hearts for the manager’s job at Leicester City he didn’t give a jot about what was going to happen at Hearts, he cut ties completely. He has now been sacked, cut ties completely.”

Former club defender Levein returned to Hearts in summer 2014 initially as director of football when Budge and the Foundation of Hearts took the Tynecastle side out of administration.

After overseeing an immediate return to the Premiership with Robbie Neilson as head coach, Levein stepped back into the dugout in August 2017 when Ian Cathro was sacked.

Hearts have finished no higher than fifth in their last three seasons and Mackay insists the product on the park has been poor for too long.

He added: “The Hearts fans were being treated like mugs and that’s now been corrected. 

“We have had a spell since the appointment of Ian Cathro that has been wrong.

“For me there is no legacy that he’s left, maybe it will come in five years’ time. 

“The legacy that we have is that for the last two, three years at first team level it has been very difficult for the supporters to stomach.”

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