Hearts Sack Jim Jeffries

Former Sporting Lisbon coach Paulo Sergio has been confirmed as the new manager for Hearts.

He replaces Jim Jefferies who was sacked yesterday with reports quickly emerging that 43-year-old Portuguese Sergio was being lined up to take over at Tynecastle.

Former journeyman striker Sergio, who managed Sporting for six months last season, was duly appointed this morning with the club confirming Jefferies has rejected an offer to become director of football.

Jefferies told the club's website, "Even though I'm disappointed at leaving the club and everyone knows my strong connection to Hearts, I'd like to thank the club for the opportunity myself and Billy have had in the last 18 months.

I also appreciate the offer to develop in a new role at Hearts, however it has perhaps come too soon and it might be something that I would consider at a later date.

I want to wish the players and staff all the best for the forthcoming season and I'll certainly be hoping the boys can do the business on Thursday night.''

Reports emerged following a meeting yesterday that Jefferies was on his way out, while it was believed the positions of his number two Billy Brown and first-team coach Gary Locke were also being reviewed.

It's understood the Jambos players, with one eye on Thursday's crucial Europa League second leg game against Hungarian side Paks at Tynecastle, were "unhappy'' when told of the news by majority shareholder Vladimir Romanov at a meeting at the stadium yesterday.

The players were reportedly told at the meeting that a manager "with European experience'' was needed at the club and they were due to report to Tynecastle this morning to meet their new boss - whose Sporting side were knocked out of the Europa League in the last 32 by Rangers in February.

Romanov, whose seven-year tenure at Tynecastle is littered with managerial casualties including John Robertson, George Burley, Graham Rix, Valdas Ivanauskas and Anatoliy Korobochka, was at Tynecastle on Sunday to see Hearts lose 1-0 to Dundee United in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League.

The Jambos are without a win since the 3-2 defeat of St Mirren on March 19 - a run of form which is reported to have influenced Romanov's decision.

However, Hearts started the season with a 1-1 draw against Rangers at Ibrox in the SPL and followed it up with a 1-1 draw against Paks in the first leg of their Europa League qualifier in Hungary.

Director Sergejus Fedotovas said, "We would like to thank Jim for his service to the club.

He has supported us in our efforts to develop the team and the wider squad and we have enjoyed a good working relationship.

The club did offer Jim another senior position but we understand his reasons for not accepting this and we wish him well for his future career beyond Hearts.''

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