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Craig Levein takes over manager duties at Hearts

The club's director of football has been confirmed as Ian Cathro's successor at Tynecastle.

Change: Levein is to take charge of Hearts' first team.
Change: Levein is to take charge of Hearts' first team. SNS Group

Hearts have announced that Craig Levein is to take over as manager at the club.

Director of football Levein and Hearts owner Ann Budge have been searching for a new head coach since the sacking of Ian Cathro in early August.

A shortlist of candidates was drawn up and interviews were held but Levein is to take charge of the first team for the second time.

Budge confirmed the appointment in a statement on the club's official website and said that Levein would still retain a wide brief but would not continue with all of his previous duties as director of football.

"I am very pleased to be able to announce that, at the request of the board, Craig Levein has agreed to take on the role of first team manager at the club," she said. "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. However, his focus and priorities will change.

"To enable Craig to focus fully on the football manager remit, some minor changes to roles, responsibilities and reporting lines will be implemented within the current coaching team setup and within the youth academy structure.

"On the coaching front, Craig will be implementing some changes to the roles/responsibilities of some of our coaching staff, such that each member of the team will be given the opportunity to continue with his personal development.

"He will be assisted on the training ground by 4 first team coaches, namely Jon Daly, Liam Fox, Austin MacPhee and Paul Gallacher. Each coach will have clearly defined areas of responsibility, both on and off the training ground. Jon's first team responsibilities mean that Andy Kirk will now take charge of the U20s on a permanent basis."

The Hearts chairwoman also explained the recruitment process, and stressed that importance was put on experience as they reached a decision.

Former England manager Steve McClaren had expressed an interest in the Hearts vacancy before taking up a job in Israel, as did Dougie Freedman who was appointed as sporting director of Crystal Palace last week. Billy Davies interviewed for the role but later criticised the club's structure.

Paul Hartley and Steven Pressley, both former Hearts players were also contenders, as was Hearts under-20s coach Daly, who acted as caretaker manager following Cathro's departure.

"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," Budge said. "Given this situation, we believed it was essential to call on experience.

"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."

Levein played over 300 times for the Tynecastle club and was manager between 2000 and 2004, leading the team to two third-place finishes in the league and taking them into Europe.

After spells managing Leicester City, Raith Rovers, Dundee United and the Scotland national team he had two years out of the front line before returning to Hearts as director of football in 2014 when Budge completed her takeover of the club.

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