Hearts: Michael Stewart says Craig Levein's judgement must be called into question
Former Hearts captain Michael Stewart describes the sacking of Ian Cathro as an "indictment on the judgement" of director of football Craig Levein.
Stewart would like to see Steven Pressley return to the club as head coach, but says some candidates might be wary of working under Levein.
"The bigger picture is the structure that [appointed] Ian Cathro because it was such a mistake," Stewart said.
"People of real calibre, are they going to work in a structure like this?"
Levein made a successful call in naming Robbie Neilson as head coach when he was first made director of football, but Stewart reckons his error in appointing Cathro was more significant.
Neilson, also a rookie manager, went on to guide Hearts to the Championship title ahead of Rangers and Hibernian, then into the top six on the club's return to the top-flight.
"To a certain extent I feel sorry for Ian Cathro, he was so clearly not adequate for the job and his shortcomings were clear for everybody to see," Stewart said.
"How can sacking a head coach days before the start of the season not draw the question of how did [Levein] see this as a good appointment?
"He had known Ian Cathro very well for a number of years, yet saw fit to make this appointment while people who barely knew him had spotted within days this weakness in his character in terms of communication and people skills. That's damning as far as I'm concerned.
"In terms of who's going to come in, I pose the question, is the director of football, Craig Levein, a detriment or is he a positive with recruiting the right candidate for the job?
"I don't think Craig Levein is a positive for the club at this position. It was such a bad call.
"This isn't a guy who's solely an administrator, he's the former national team manager, he's a big character. His shadow is too big. He is too much of an influence for someone to have a free reign."
'Pressley would be a fantastic manager for Hearts'
Stewart's preference as successor to Cathro would be another former Hearts captain in Pressley, who is currently out of work after spells managing Fleetwood Town and Coventry City.
Stewart is not certain, though, that Pressley would want to work in the management structure currently in place at Tynecastle, despite being on positive terms with Levein.
"I would like to see Steven Pressley brought in. Steven has a good relationship with Craig Levein, but I'm still not convinced that he would take the job in the current circumstances," Stewart said.
"Steven's had a number of difficult jobs. He's picked good clubs at bad times and he's in a position where the Hearts job would be wonderful for him. He would be a fantastic manager for Hearts.
"He's a person of real stature, he has a presence, and I've seen first-hand how he is with people, man-management, and he's a very good coach as well. He'd be an ideal appointment for Hearts."
Levein has yet to comment on the situation.