Robbie Neilson: Hearts head coach completes MK Dons move

Robbie Neilson
Two Robbie Muirhead goals gave Robbie Neilson victory in his last match as Hearts head coach

English League One side MK Dons have appointed Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson as their new manager.

The 36-year-old leaves Hearts second in the Scottish Premiership, replacing Karl Robinson at a side currently 19th in England's third tier.

He will be joined at the Dons by Stevie Crawford, who has been Neilson's assistant since he took his first job in management at Tynecastle in 2014.

Neilson will take charge after Saturday's FA Cup tie with Charlton.

Caretaker Richie Barker will remain in charge against an Addicks side managed by Robinson, after his six-year reign at MK Dons ended in October following a poor start to the season having been relegated from the Championship last term.

Dons chairman Pete Winkelman said: "I'm hugely excited. Robbie has been on our list from day one - he's the most exciting young manager in the UK, by a country mile.

"Hearts are a good club. They didn't stand in Robbie's way and they made it possible. They worked with us to make sure it was as smooth as it could be, given that it's in the middle of the season."

Robbie Neilson
Neilson led Hearts to the Championship and promotion in his first season as a manager

Neilson's final match in charge of the Edinburgh side was a 2-0 victory over Rangers at Tynecastle, and afterwards he described his time at Hearts as "a phenomenal journey".

The former Scotland international full-back led his side to the Scottish Championship title and promotion in his first season in charge, and a third-placed finish in the top flight last term.

Neilson said of his appointment: "It's great to be here and I'm looking forward to developing the club, developing the players and moving the club forward.

"The most important thing for me was picking the right chairman and the right club, and this was the right match at the right time - it's a club that's going places.

"Hopefully the fans are ready for the ride. We want to create excitement but, most importantly, win football matches. With the squad that we've got here, we should be winning football matches - our job is to help them do that."

Neilson joins a side who had previously held talks with former England and Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard over the vacancy.

However, the 36-year-old said the role came "a bit too soon" for him after his exit from LA Galaxy.

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