Thompson says Levein leaves the club in a much better state
Dundee United are seeking applications for the post of team manager after announcing that Craig Levein will be leaving to be Scotland boss.
United chairman Stephen Thompson says that Levein's departure will only be confirmed once compensation is paid.
But a club statement announced that Levein's assistant, Peter Houston, will act as caretaker boss, assisted by Gary Kirk, until an appointment is made.
"Applications for the position of team manager are now being sought," it said.
Hamilton Academical's Billy Reid, Raith Rovers' John McGlynn, St Johnstone's Derek McInnes and fellow former United midfielder Michael O'Neill, now boss of Shamrock Rovers, have all already been linked with the job at Tannadice.
But former Aberdeen manager Jimmy Calderwood and former United manager Paul Sturrock, who was recently moved to a director's role at Plymouth, are unlikely to be considered for the role.
It was a very difficult decision to leave Dundee United
McInnes refused to be drawn on the prospect of replacing Levein after being installed as favourite for the post by one bookmaker.
The St Johnstone manager, who played in the United midfield between 2003 and 2006, is still highly regarded at the Tayside club.
However, McInnes recently signed a contract extension and it is thought the compensation package St Johnstone would demand might deter United.
Thompson - who hopes Levein, who was also on United's board, will be involved in the recruitment process - said they would not rush into making an appointment.
"We've already had plenty of names put to us as potential replacements and I can understand why, because we've got a good squad of players and are in a strong position to attract good candidates," said the chairman in a club website statement.
"However, we won't be rushing into appointing someone else, we'll take our time and look at all the options."
Thompson, meanwhile, praised the departing manager for the job he had done at Tannadice.
"He has done a great job for us and leaves the team - and the club as a whole - in a much better position than it was when he arrived here," he said.
Thompson pointed out that Levein joined United in October 2006 at a time when they were languishing around the foot of the table.
Having secured the club's SPL status, he achieved a fifth-place finish the following season and reached the League Cup final as well as becoming director of football.
Thompson pointed out that, as well as another top-six finish last season and Scottish Cup semi-final appearance, Levein had also laid foundations for the future with a complete overhaul of the youth set-up and the establishment of permanent training facilities at St Andrews.
"While we always knew he would move on to a bigger job and are flattered that the job he has done here has brought him to the attention of the national team, we're nevertheless very disappointed Craig is leaving us at this time," he said.
"However, he leaves with our gratitude. We now move on and look to our own future."
Levein admitted that it had been a wrench to leave a club who presently sit fourth in the SPL.
"While it is a great honour to be asked to manage your country, it was a very difficult decision to leave Dundee United," he said.
"I have, and will continue to have, a great affection and respect for the club and its supporters, who have given me such strong support from the day I arrived.
"I also leave behind a great bunch of players and a strong backroom staff and I know the club is in good hands.
"I will keep many great and poignant memories of my time at Tannadice. It has been a pleasure to work with Stephen Thompson and his late father, Eddie."
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