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Craig Levein: Hearts director of football returns to dugout as manager

Hearts director of football Craig Levein has been appointed as the club’s new manager.The former Scotland boss, 52, was previously in charge of the Tynecastle club from 2000-04.As director of football since May 2014, Levein oversaw the appointment of the previous two Hearts head coaches, Robbie Neilson and Ian Cathro.

Cathro was sacked on 1 August and under-20s coach Jon Daly took charge of the first team for four matches. Hearts owner Ann Budge said Levein’s appointment had been “at the request of the board”.”He will continue to hold a seat on the board and, as such, will retain the overall responsibilities associated with the wider role of Director of Football,” she said in a statement.”In deciding how best to move forward, the board took into account the fact that we are facing a unique set of circumstances this year, with the first match on our home ground not coming until three months into the season [due to stadium redevelopment]. Given this situation, we believed it was essential to call on experience.

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“Against this backdrop, we drew up our selection criteria and invited a number of experienced managers/head coaches for interview. The candidates we interviewed were, without exception, first-class. However, as the interview process progressed, it became clear to the board that the ideal candidate was already with us.”Not only does Craig satisfy all of our requirements, in terms of experience and personal attributes, he also offers continuity and stability. During a time of great change at the club, it is of paramount importance that we consolidate progress already made and learn from our experiences.””Having presented our plan to all members of the coaching staff and to our captain, I can confirm that everyone is fully behind it. We are, therefore, delighted that Craig has agreed to take on this challenge and for the avoidance of doubt…yes…he will be taking his place in the dugout…and yes, for the first time in the last 3 years…he will indeed be picking the team!”Budge also confirmed Daly and Austin MacPhee, the latter having joined the club around the time of Cathro’s appointment late last year, will be first-team coaches along with Liam Fox and Paul Gallacher, while Andy Kirk will take charge of the under-20s.Daly was considered for the head coach position and former players Paul Hartley and Steven Pressley were interviewed for it. Billy Davies, Steve McClaren and Dougie Freedman had ruled themselves out of the running.Levein, who rejoined Hearts as Budge took the club out of administration, has also managed Cowdenbeath, Leicester City, Raith Rovers and Dundee United and takes over a Hearts side sitting eighth in the Scottish Premiership on four points, having won one, drawn one and lost twice.All four of their league games this season have been away due to the club’s main stand renovation and Hearts will play three ‘home’ fixtures at Murrayfield, where Scotland’s national rugby team play, before returning to Tynecastle in November.

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