Steven Naismith has returned to his role as Hearts head coach, following the club’s exit from European competition.
The former Scotland international had been appointed technical director in the summer, with Frankie McAvoy in charge, as the club embarked on Europa Conference League qualifiers.
However, after the defeat to PAOK, Naismith will take over first-team duties at Tynecastle Park with McAvoy his number two.
Hearts have won just one league match this season and are on four points after four games, but CEO Andrew McKinlay is still targetting European qualification for a third consecutive year.
“Firstly, I’d like to place on record my thanks to Frankie for all of his hard work over the past few months,” McKinlay told Hearts’ official website.
“He remains an important member of our coaching team, is well-liked amongst the players, and his experience of top-level football has been invaluable around the training ground.
“It is important that we now put all our energies towards targeting the top end of the league and qualification for European competition for a third year in a row which would be a first in the history of the club.”
Naismith promises attacking, winning football
Naismith took interim charge in April after Robbie Neilson’s departure as manager and led the club to third last season.
Despite a tricky start to this campaign, the 36-year-old is remaining upbeat: “Of course, this is a proud moment for me, but I’ve long said that Frankie, Gordy, Gal and I are a team.
“We work together, tirelessly, and today’s announcement doesn’t change that. Job titles have changed but the core of what we’re trying to achieve has not.
“We want to build this team up to play attacking, front-foot football that wins games. That attacking football was in evidence at the end of last season although we would obviously have liked more wins to go with it.
“I have also seen some signs of that over the past month, but I want to see more. We all know the last few results have not been what we expected, but we now have the international break to work on the training pitch and put it into practice at Tynecastle on our return.
“I’d also like to thank the fans for the support they’ve shown the team as well as Frankie and me.
“It’s very much appreciated, and rest assured that we will do everything we can to put on winning performances that they can be proud of.”
Hearts’ next six fixtures
- Aberdeen (h) – September 16 – Scottish Premiership
- St Mirren (a) – September 23 – Scottish Premiership
- Kilmarnock (a) – September 26 – League Cup
- Ross County (a) – September 30 – Scottish Premiership
- Hibernian (h) – October 7 – Scottish Premiership
- Celtic (h) – October 22 – Scottish Premiership – live on Sky Sports
Scottish Premiership and SWPL on Sky Sports
Sky Sports – Next season up to 48 cinch Premiership games will be available across Sky Sports’ flagship channels, including Sky Sports Football and Sky Sports Main Event, plus at least five SWPL matches. From 2024/25, up to 60 cinch Premiership will be live on Sky Sports, in addition to the SWPL.
Sky Sports News – Running 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Scottish football fans can enjoy Sky Sports News’ (channel 409) rolling editorial coverage of the cinch Premiership and SWPL throughout the season.
Sky Sports Digital – Follow all the latest from Scottish football across SkySports.com and app, including exclusive features and interviews, plus dedicated live blog coverage, in-game clips from matches live on Sky Sports and free highlights.
Sky Sports Social – Alongside coverage and visibility for the league across all Sky Sports’ main social media channels, the bespoke Twitter channel @ScotlandSky will continue to be the home of all Scottish football content on Sky Sports.
Highlights show – Tune in for a dedicated round-up from the cinch Premiership every week on Sky Sports Football.
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