Former Everton and Rangers striker appointed head coach at Scottish Premiership side

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Former Everton striker Steven Naismith has returned to his role as head coach at Scottish Premiership side Hearts

Ex-Everton striker Steven Naismith has returned to his role as head coach at Scottish Premiership outfit Hearts following the conclusion of the side’s Europa Conference League campaign.

The former Toffees frontman had been interim boss at the end of last season but was named technical director ahead of the 2023-24 campaign as he did not have the qualifications required to coach in European competitions.

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Frankie McAvoy, who will be his assistant, took on the head coach role for the start of the season. With Hearts now out of the Europa Conference League, the club has confirmed the coaching change.

A club statement read: “It was always the intention that, once we had only domestic football to focus on, our management team would revert to the structure that was in place at the end of last season. Accordingly, Steven Naismith shall become Head Coach on a permanent basis with Frankie McAvoy returning to the position of Assistant Coach.

Speaking to the club website, Hearts CEO Andrew McKinlay said: “Firstly, I’d like to place on record my thanks to Frankie for all of his hard work over the past few months. 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.”

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Naismith added: “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.”

Naismith finished his playing career at Hearts in 2021. He enjoyed a spell at Everton between 2012 and 2016 after arriving at Goodison Park from Rangers. He made 123 appearances for the Toffees, scoring 26 goals.

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