Hearts: Levein seeks 'young' coach to succeed Neilson

Hearts' director of football Craig Levein
Craig Levein wouldn't be drawn on Ian Cathro's prospects of succeeding Robbie Neilson

Hearts are seeking a "young and enthusiastic" coach to succeed Robbie Neilson, according to the club's director of football Craig Levein.

The Scottish Premiership club are mulling over their options after Neilson agreed terms with English League One outfit MK Dons.

Newcastle coach Ian Cathro has been linked with the Tynecastle vacancy.

"Ian is a friend of mine but he is employed by another club, so I don't want to talk about him," Levein said.

Asked about the qualities sought in the new head coach, Levein explained: "The profile hasn't changed from Robbie really. We are looking for a young, intelligent, energetic, enthusiastic coach who can help us move on from where we are. And that's the key, to try to get someone in who can improve us."

Neilson, 36, leaves Hearts second in the Premiership following Wednesday's 2-0 win over Rangers. He will be joined at Stadium MK by his assistant Stevie Crawford.

Coaches Jon Daly and Andy Kirk will look after the first for Saturday's trip to Ross County.

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Highlights: Hearts 2-0 Rangers

'Pathway' for Neilson

Asked if he was surprised Neilson had swapped such a lofty league spot in Scotland for the lower reaches of England's third tier, Levein was diplomatic.

"Robbie's a very logical person," said the former Scotland boss. "He has always said he wanted to manage at the top level down in England.

"He explained to me that he felt if he could go down to England in a good, stable job and do a good job there, then he would have a better chance of getting a higher level club. He saw that as his pathway. Whether I agree with him or not is almost irrelevant.

"I don't want to be disrespectful to MK Dons because they have a bigger stadium than us and they have the potential to be a good team. He goes with my best wishes.

"I have a lot of admiration for him and on a personal level I really like him. He's a good guy and the amount of work he put in here to help get us back to a position where we should be, I will be eternally grateful. I think the Hearts fans and certainly the board of directors are as well."

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