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Last Updated: Friday, 24 March 2006, 18:30 GMT
Sacking to spur Hearts - Hartley
Valdas Ivanauskas
Valdas Ivanauskas is in interim charge of Hearts
Paul Hartley believes the sacking of head coach Graham Rix will spur Hearts on to Scottish Cup success and Champions League qualification.

Rix followed George Burley out the door this season as majority shareholder Vladimir Romanov seeks perfection.

But Hartley said: "People say it might put us off, but I don't think it will.

"When George Burley left, people said the same things, but we have tried to be successful and hopefully we can keep that going to the end of the season."

Hearts' results took a dip after Rix took over from Burley.

And, while Hartley was surprised to see Rix leave, he sees no reason to panic after Valdas Ivanauskas was promoted to interim head coach.
There are some very good quality players here at Hearts
Valdas Ivanauskas

"We want to win things and we want to be successful - this will make us more determined," said the Scotland midfielder.

"It came as shock to the players and we thought Graham would be here to the end of the season.

"But Valdas is not new to the players. He knows what we are about and has taken a lot of training sessions before.

"We also have some strong characters in the dressing-room, such as Steven Pressley, Takis Fyssas, Edgaras Jankauskas and myself."

Hartley is also convinced that Romanov will not encounter any problems trying to land a high-calibre coach to succeed Rix, despite the Lithuanian's ruthless reputation.

"It's a big job and if we qualify for the Champions League then any top manager will want it," he said.

"It happens all over Europe that owners have a big say in their club and they still attract top managers."

Former Kaunas coach Ivanauskas insists that he will not be afraid to make harsh decisions, despite his role being temporary, for the moment at least.

"I have been known to be quite a forceful player," he said, taking his first pre-match media conference through an interpreter.

"I am also emotional about the game and the team. You need to be a strong and emotional person."

The Lithuanian recognises that Hearts' squad compares well with their SPL rivals.

"Every position in the team is important, but we are the team that has conceded the least goals, which means we have a good defence," he said.

"There are some very good quality players here at Hearts."

Ivanauskas praised the 100% commitment and togetherness shown by players in the Scottish game and realised that some of Hearts' new players needed time to adapt.

"In a high-tempo game, you need to be able to play with control," he added.


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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