Steven Naismith is adamant Hearts’ managerial team will continue to run smoothly even though the official titles of he and Frankie McAvoy have been changed since the end of last season.
Following the sacking of Robbie Neilson in April, Jambos’ B team manager Naismith was promoted to the role of interim first-team boss for the last seven games of last term, assisted by McAvoy and Gordon Forrest.
However, Naismith does not yet have his UEFA Pro Licence qualification, which is a prerequisite for managing in Europe, so when it came to a permanent arrangement, Hearts announced at the start of June that 56-year-old McAvoy would become head coach and the 36-year-old former Rangers, Everton and Scotland attacker had been appointed technical director.
The general understanding at the time was that Naismith would continue to call the shots although McAvoy is maintaining in interviews that he will have the final say on all team-related matters. Naismith is confident there will be no issues with the new set-up.
“It’s very much like we were last season,” Naismith told Sky Sports. “The biggest thing is we’re here because of what we did last season. Yes, the roles were slightly different, but the way we work is the exact same.
“Going forward the club wanted us to be involved to try and continue what we did, the way we played and get the results we want to challenge for the expectations of the club.
“The structure this season is what it is, Frankie is obviously leading stuff in terms of decisions with the team but day-to-day nothing really changes. It’s very much a team thing.
“We’ve got Frankie, who’s got different attributes to what I have, to what Gordon Forrest has, to what (goalkeeping coach) Paul Gallagher has within the coaching team. As we’ve worked from the off, we’ve all got an opinion and we all come to a good decision and that’s what we want again this season.”
Naismith feels that he, McAvoy and Forrest work well together and does not envisage that changing.
“There hasn’t really been (any dissent) and I think that’s why we’re all very comfortable with the way it has been,” he said. “Last season we had the seven or eight weeks together and we debate things but there’s never been a stand-off.
“We sit and discuss it then we decide the way forward. In terms of the bigger picture, the expectations of the club, how we want to play and how we evaluate a performance, that’s very clear-cut for us all.
“We’re all on the same page for that and that’s the biggest thing we’ll use to move forward and progress. We’re all on the same page and it has been seamless so far.”
Naismith is aiming to undertake his Pro Licence and he hinted that completion of the qualification could lead to a change in job titles.
“Again that’s something we’ve spoken about and I think for the longer-term thing, there could be changes,” he said. “The here and now, what we’re dealing with, what we’re happy with and accepting of is this structure, and that’s what we’ll go forward with.
“I’ve got a plan in place (for Pro Licence) and that will come into effect when it can and we’ll move forward from that point.”