Hearts striker admits dugout uncertainty is tough for everyone at club


Hearts striker Steven Naismith insists the uncertainty surrounding the drawn-out search for a new manager is tough for everyone at the club.

Former Barnsley and Hannover 96 boss Daniel Stendel has become owner Ann Budge’s preferred candidate but the German is taking his time weighing up his options.

Stuart McCall, Steve Cotterill, Alan Irvine and Neil McCann are also thought to have interviewed for the vacancy.

Naismith speaks to former manager Levein

Interim manager Austin MacPhee is set to take charge of his fourth straight game when the Gorgie side visit Rangers in Premiership action on Sunday.

And a month on since Levein was relieved of his duties as manager and director of football, Naismith admits the lack of clarity in the dugout is not ideal.

He said: “The uncertainty and the time passing with all the names being mentioned is going to be tough for everybody at the club, including coaches, staff – everybody. 

“As a group we need to tick over and keep going. 

“I’m pretty sure with Austin’s relationship with Ann, she’s very open with everybody and he’ll be constant contact but he’s got his international stuff as well and I’m sure personally he’ll be thinking about his future going forward.

“When you are younger and one name pops up, you think that’s it, it is happening, but over the years, you obviously learn that there’s a lot of chat before you get to the final decision.”

Hearts were beaten 3-0 at Kilmarnock last weekend after overcoming St Mirren 5-2 prior to the international break and are currently ninth in the table as one of four tables stuck on 11 points at the basement.

However, former Rangers, Everton and Norwich City marksman Naismith is adamant Budge is doing the right thing by not rushing into an appointment.

Speaking to BBC Radio Scotland, he added: “All along Ann has said to us that she would rather make the right choice than just have a quick fix, so she’s having this process and you just hope, when it comes to the end, it is the right choice.

“Since the manager left, it’s been pretty up and down.

”We got a good result against St Mirren, but then the result last week – we let ourselves down massively and that’s not down to not having a manager in place or the uncertainty around the team.

“Ann has made it clear she wants to go through the process and speak to different types of manager.

“She said to me she wanted to make sure she did the process properly.

“I have nothing but great words to say about her because she’s very thorough and very honest and she’s ruthless when she needs to be.”