Hearts confirm manager talks

Hearts have confirmed head coach Valdas Ivanauskas is in Lithuania for discussions with majority shareholder Vladimir Romanov.

Hearts have confirmed head coach Valdas Ivanauskas is in Lithuania for discussions with majority shareholder Vladimir Romanov.

The Jambos slumped to a 2-0 home defeat by Kilmarnock at the weekend – their second home Bank of Scotland Premier League loss of the campaign after St Mirren won at Tynecastle on September 9.

The defeat by Killie leaves the Edinburgh side eight points behind SPL leaders Celtic and after the game, Romanov summoned the Hearts boss to Lithuania for talks on the situation.

A Hearts spokesman said: “Mr Romanov is meeting with Valdas Ivanauskas in Lithuania today.”

But the club insist any further announcement will be dictated by the result of the discussion between the two men.

The majority shareholder appointed Ivanauskas on a permanent basis in June after he guided the team to the Tennent’s Scottish Cup triumph over Gretna in May and a Champions League qualifying berth with a second-place finish in the SPL.

The former FBK Kaunas boss originally succeeded sacked Graham Rix in March.

But Hearts were knocked out of the Champions League at the final qualifying stage by AEK Athens before hopes of a spot in the UEFA Cup group phase were ended by Sparta Prague last month.

Romanov has parted company with three managers since taking a controlling interest at Tynecastle.

John Robertson resigned after refusing to take a ‘lesser’ role under a new head coach to be appointed by the majority shareholder.

Then, after guiding Hearts to the top of the SPL with a 10-game unbeaten streak, George Burley left after “irreconcilable differences” with the club’s hierarchy.

Rix took over in November last year but was axed despite leading the team to the Scottish Cup semi-finals.

Ivanauskas stepped into the head coach role on an interim basis to oversee the 4-0 win against Hibernian in the last four of the competition.

Hearts claimed a 1-0 win over Aberdeen in the penultimate game of the season to clinch the Champions League qualifying spot ahead of Rangers.

The Jambos then won the Scottish Cup with a penalty shoot-out triumph over Gretna at Hampden Park – their first silverware since winning the same competition in 1998.

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