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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 March 2006, 18:06 GMT
Ivanauskas promises few changes
Valdas Ivanauskas and John McGlynn
Valdas Ivanauskas and John McGlynn will be in charge again
Interim Hearts coach Valdas Ivanauskas has promised to avoid wholesale changes, despite predecessor Graham Rix being sacked for alleged poor results.

And the Lithuanian believes his side can still make it a successful season.

"There are eight league games left and we should not lose sight of the fact we could have a great season, one of the best in Hearts' history," he said.

"There will be no huge changes. But, like every coach, I do have some of my ideas and I will implement these."

Ivanauskas had assisted John McGlynn when George Burley was sacked earlier in the season, when it was stressed that the Lithuanian would not be a candidate for the job eventually handed to Rix.

However, McGlynn this time will assist the 39-year-old, who has been appointed until the end of the season after Rix was axed by Lithuanian-based businessman and Hearts owner Vladimir Romanov.
I hope the players will realise what a big chance that they have this season
Interim Hearts coach Valdas Ivanauskas

Ivanauskas will meet the players on Thursday, having spoken briefly to them following the news of the Englishman's departure.

"I hope the players understand the situation," he said.

"I hope they will realise what a big chance that they have this season.

"Everyone understands that we have some very important games coming up, including the Scottish Cup semi-final against Hibs."

Ivanauskas, who played for Zalgiris Vilnius, CSKA Moscow, Lokomotiv Moscow and Austria FK, became the first Lithuanian footballer to play in Germany's Bundesliga when he signed for Hamburg in 1993.

The striker, capped 28 times for Lithuania, went on to play for Salzburg, St Polten, Wilhelmshaven and Cloppenburg before moving on to coaching.

He led Vilnius-based FK Vetra to an Intertoto Cup victory over Hibernian while also undertaking the role of assistant manager with the Lithuanian national side.

Ivanauskas became head coach with Lithuanian champions FBK Kaunas in 2004, leading them to another league title and victory in their national cup final.

However, he was dismissed by the club sponsored by Romanov's bank after a poor start to the 2005 season and this season was brought in to assist with coaching at Tynecastle.

He took charge on a day when Hearts fell 17 points behind Scottish Premier League leaders Celtic after 19 games under Rix, during which they won nine games, drew six and lost four.

They remain six points ahead of Rangers and Ivanauskas could yet take the post full time should he win the race for the second Champions League qualification spot.

But there has also been renewed speculation that Lothar Matthaus and Hearts fan Graeme Souness, who were linked with the job before their respective sackings by Hungary and Newcastle United, could be interested.




WATCH AND LISTEN
Interview: Former Hearts director of football Jim Duffy


Interview: Hearts captain Stephen Pressley



SEE ALSO
Rix sacked as Hearts head coach
22 Mar 06 |  Heart of Midlothian
Chick Young's column
22 Mar 06 |  Heart of Midlothian
Rix aiming for extended contract
20 Feb 06 |  Heart of Midlothian
Duffy claims Hearts in good hands
14 Feb 06 |  Heart of Midlothian
Duffy handed Hearts director role
13 Feb 06 |  Heart of Midlothian
Romanov row resolved, say Hearts
11 Feb 06 |  Heart of Midlothian
Rix 'will pick team on Saturday'
10 Feb 06 |  Heart of Midlothian
Hearts add seven more new players
01 Feb 06 |  Heart of Midlothian
SFA yet to ratify Rix appointment
20 Dec 05 |  Heart of Midlothian
Rix not feeling any extra strain
17 Dec 05 |  Heart of Midlothian
Hearts unveil Rix as head coach
08 Nov 05 |  Heart of Midlothian


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