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Robbie Neilson: I’ll be picking Hearts team next season, not Craig Levein

The Hearts new first team coach says selection decisions at Tynecastle will be all his.

Craig Levein, Anne Budge and Robbie Neilson
SNS Group

Hearts new first team coach Robbie Neilson says he has been given assurances that team selection will be his responsibility.

Neilson was introduced to the media on Tuesday morning alongside the club’s new director of football Craig Levein, with the pair explaining how the new continental style coaching structure will work.

Levein was appointed by new Hearts owner Anne Budge to take control of all footballing matters and he dispensed with manager Gary Locke on his first day in the job, promoting Neilson to his new role.

Neilson, who had been part of the youth coaching set-up at Tynecastle, said he been given clear parameters for his job.

"I will pick the team,” he said. “When Craig spoke to me on Sunday night that was one of the questions I asked him and he assured me I would pick the team.

“That's the reason I'm sitting here."

Levein explained that he had been in discussions with Budge over a role at the club since August last year. He also admitted that the decision to let Locke go has been made some time ago, prior to being put into effect on Monday.

Levein said: "Trust me, yesterday was a hugely difficult day. I have got a lot of respect for Gary Locke and a lot of time for him as a person.

“The last thing I wanted to do was tell Gary Locke there wasn't a role for him in this new structure. But ultimately that is the fact."

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