Celtic coach John Kennedy in running for Hearts job - with Steven Naismith talks to commence

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The former Scotland defender and current Hoops No.2 is being considered by the Tynecastle club

Celtic coach John Kennedy will become a contender for the Hearts manager’s job should the Edinburgh club decide not to appoint Steven Naismith permanently.

The 39-year-old is currently assistant to Ange Postecoglou at Parkhead having previously coached Celtic’s youth and development teams.

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Hearts installed Naismith as interim manager last month after sacking Robbie Neilson and will not make any decision on a permanent appointment until after this weekend. They remain focused on the final two games of the season, away to Rangers on Wednesday and Hibs at Tynecastle on Saturday.

Celtic coach John Kennedy is one name who could interest Hearts this summer.Celtic coach John Kennedy is one name who could interest Hearts this summer.
Celtic coach John Kennedy is one name who could interest Hearts this summer.

Should Naismith secure third place in the Premiership by overhauling the two-point deficit between Hearts and Aberdeen, he would potentially secure guaranteed European group-stage football at Tynecastle next season. That would make him firm favourite to be given the job full-time.

If not and the club hierarchy decide to look elsewhere, Kennedy will be one of the names in contention. He would be interested in working as a manager in his own right after almost 10 years coaching the Celtic first team. He assisted Ronny Deila, Brendan Rodgers and Neil Lennon before Postecogou arrived in Glasgow two years ago.

Kennedy previously held talks with Hibs about taking the manager’s position at Easter Road but decided against it back in 2019. He harbours ambitions to be his own man one day if the right opportunity arises.

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Hearts have had plenty interest in their managerial vacancy and the Evening News revealed last month that German coach Thorsten Fink wanted the job. They have not held talks with any candidates so far. Discussions with Naismith will take place after Saturday’s game.