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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 March 2006, 16:06 GMT
Chick Young's column

By Chick Young
BBC Scotland football correspondent

I really don't know what the Lithuanians will do next for a manager, but I promise you this, I won't raise an eyebrow in surprise

Graham Rix loved a little cigar to calm his nerves at the end of a Hearts match.

It was somehow suitable, because life had been full of doubts since the moment he first walked into the manager's office at Tynecastle.

I really don't know what the Lithuanians will do next for a manager, but I promise you this, I won't raise an eyebrow in surprise.

Not if it's the Dalai Lama or Peter Mandelson or the lollipop man at the school behind the ground.

Let's lift ourselves above tabloid caricatures of Hearts owner Vladimir Romanov, and instead study in greater depth the man who, with son Roman, delivered the P45s to Rix and Jim Duffy.

You cannot actually deny that Hearts - in football terms - HAVE come a long way.

On the threshold of the Scottish Cup final and a place in the Champions League on the weekend on which the clocks to forward... that's not bad for a start.

Furthermore, despite a cosmopolitan employment register which has trimmed the football dole queues of Europe, they do have a core of players who form the beating heart of the current Scotland team.

And while the decent argument would seem to protest that you cannot keep on sucking in managers and then blowing them out in pieces within a few weeks, there is actually no reason why they cannot carry on down that merry road.

The Romanovs have the money and they will be queuing up like lemmings for the job.

Coaches will be led to the block and those of us who observe the Scottish game will be sitting round like little old ladies with laptops instead of knitting.

Valdas Ivanauskas has survived the revolutions.

When Rix was given the job it was stated that the Lithuanian was never a contender.

I feel sorry for Rix - he showed courage in taking the job because he knew his past would be trawled up

And dear John McGlynn, who disappears and reappears like a wee man in a cuckoo clock, has been rolled out to put a steady hand on the tiller.

How long can these two put up with the task of responding to 999 calls? Surely now either - or both - might be invited to take centre stage.

In truth they would be better going for Torvill and Dean. At least they are proficient in the art of skating on thin ice.

Let's be honest. For all that Hearts have achieved, there is madness afoot.

They sacked George Burley when he was doing brilliantly and now Graham Rix when he was doing well.

Four defeats in 19 games is surely not a hanging offence, and certainly not after just four months when you have only been promised six.

To be honest I smelled a rat at the beginning of the week when Hearts asked for the SFA inquiry into whether Rix was a fit and proper person to hold the post of coach to be deferred for the third time.

That was to be held on 27 April, by which time his season was all but over in any case.

It was a classic piece of sweeping under the carpet and is an issue which will now probably never need to be addressed in Scotland.

You know the terrible thing about all of this? The lack of surprise.

You hear that a team have sacked their manager on the threshold of a Scottish cup semi-final and on the approaches to the Champions League and your jaw drops and your eyes open wide in disbelief.

Hearts fans have no choice now but to go along with what Romanov decides

Then you are told it is Hearts and instead you nod your head knowingly and get on with something important like making a cup of coffee.

I feel sorry for Rix. He showed courage in taking the job because he knew his past would be trawled up.

The Romanovs put him through the wringer for not very much.

And as for Jim Duffy, I'm sure they have shown more care and attention to a rental car.

Whatever happened to the grand plan? The big name boss? The director of football?

And somewhere along the line someone has not been entirely clear about who really picked the team.

Hearts fans have no choice now but to go along with what Romanov decides.

The club has sold its soul to him. Their only option is not to renew their season tickets and as long as the team keep winning they'll keep turning up and in the end that is maybe what football is all about.

It's just that I always hope the good guys would win in the end.




SEE ALSO
Rix sacked as Hearts head coach
22 Mar 06 |  Heart of Midlothian
Romanov set for Hearts presidency
21 Mar 06 |  Heart of Midlothian



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