It's down at Tynecastle they bide. Although, rarely for very long. The manager's post is not one which a coach is tied to for any great length of time, with John McGlynn the latest to be cut loose by a club who are on the look out for their ninth permanent manager in just eight years.
In the interim, responsibility has been thrust into the hands of Gary Locke, erstwhile first-team coach, and player development manager Darren Murray. The decision seemed straightforward since Locke has coached the team since joining under Jim Jefferies three years ago, having previously served Hearts for nine years as a player. It presents a rare point of stability at a club which rarely passes up an opportunity to shake things up, even if it is not inconceivable that a new man will be in place in time for the Scottish Communities League Cup final against St Mirren, an occasion for which Hearts have already sold 10,000 tickets.
That will be played on March 17 and, at the moment, it falls on Locke to ensure his players are able to stoke that enthusiasm despite the latest episode of upheaval. He will also consider his time in charge as an audition to take the job on full-time, an ambition which he has clung to even as the Tynecastle side have disappeared below St Mirren to the depths of 11th place in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League.
As a coach, Locke can consider himself to ready to go it alone after serving an apprenticeship under Jefferies, Paulo Sergio and McGlynn, while his passion for the club still burns since his time as a player. "Anybody who knows me knows that it's my dream job," said the 37-year-old, whose first match in charge comes in the league against Motherwell today. "I've been here as a first-team coach for three-and-a-half years now and loved every minute of it; some good, some bad.
"I love coming in here every morning and working out on the training pitch with the players. Hopefully that can continue. This is a fantastic club with a fantastic history and it's a dream job in my opinion but I'm biased."
Locke can look to his own future since his aspirations are no longer obscured by a permanent manager but he was still moved to look back on the reasons behind the dismissal of McGlynn. The coach had left a more stable job with Raith Rovers in order to return to a club he held dear but it was a relationship which floundered following a series of uninspiring results.
McGlynn might have expected a degree of patience as he was working with a young squad bereft of experienced players such as Danny Grainger, Jamie Hamill and Marius Zaliukas because of injury – and Locke does feel that his predecessor deserved more time. "It's difficult because, when you're putting so many young players in the team, you are going to get indifferent performances," he said.
A free weekend will now allow McGlynn to mull over his brief tenure and how he handled the litany of issues he faced, but there is an element of self-recrimination within his squad, too. "Players, individually and collectively, need to take responsibility for what's gone on," said Andy Webster, the Hearts defender. "You're always going to have that slight feeling of guilt. You ask yourself, 'could I have done more?'"
Any doubts can be exorcised with a stirring performance at Tynecastle this afternoon, although they face a Motherwell side fresh from a win over leaders Celtic. In any other week it is that result which would colour the build up to this match, rather than those that cost McGlynn his job. Even so, Stuart McCall was careful to play down the disparities between the two sides, while playing up the candidacy of Locke to take over at Tynecastle full-time.
"I know Lockey well and after [today] we will wish him all the best because he has learning under a few managers now so I'm sure he'll be keen to have a go at it," said the Motherwell manager. "The better results he gets will give him a better chance of getting the job full-time.
"What effect [the sacking of McGlynn] has on the Hearts players, we have no bearing on that. We are going in on the back of not only a fantastic result [against Celtic] but a real gutsy performance. We will need that again as, although Hearts are 11th, there is nothing between the sides, as has been shown this season."
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