Hearts: Craig Levein sacked as manager & director of football

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Craig Levein has been sacked as manager of Hearts and will also leave his role as director of football – but he will stay at the club until the summer.

The former Scotland manager will see out his Hearts deal while working to “develop and improve the structure of the backroom and youth operations”.

The Scottish Premiership club lost 1-0 at St Johnstone on Wednesday and only goal difference is keeping them off the bottom of the table.

They have won only once this season.

Levein’s assistant Austin MacPhee will take caretaker charge for Sunday’s Scottish League Cup semi-final against Rangers at Hampden.

And Hearts confirmed that both he – and Levein’s permanent replacement – will report directly to chief executive Ann Budge.

After the defeat by St Johnstone, Levein conceded that turning around the club’s poor run of form may be the biggest challenge of his career.

Throughout the last half hour of that game, the Hearts supporters could be heard singing “Craig Levein, we want you to go”.

The former Tynecastle defender returned to the club as director of football in May 2014, before starting his second stint as manager following Ian Cathro’s dismissal in August 2017.

Last month, owner Budge insisted the club remained behind Levein despite fans protesting outside the stadium following a home defeat by Motherwell.

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What Hearts’ statement said

“Craig has worked tirelessly and selflessly, around the clock, to try to achieve success, despite the many challenges with which he has been faced,” read a club statement.

“He will not return to his previous director of football role and, that being so, will step down from the board.

“He will, however, see out his contract, which runs until the end of the season, working closely with the executive management team in continuing to develop and improve the structure of the backroom and youth operations within the development.

“We are confident that his knowledge and experience will contribute massively to ensuring that, come the end of the season, he will leave the football department in a healthy and thriving state.”

‘The manager wants the best for the club’ – reaction

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Hearts captain Christophe Berra spoke to the media just hours before Levein’s departure was announced.

His own goal condemned the Tynecastle side to defeat at St Johnstone and the former Scotland international said his side must “buck up their ideas dramatically”.

“The manager wants the best for the club and wants the club to be successful – don’t think he wants to stand there and lose games and get the stick he does. That’s not how it works,” Berra said.

“It’s the same for us, we just want to win games. Get a run going, get a bit of confidence going so we start winning more games and get up the table and do in a style and a way we want to do it.”

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