McGlynn era comes to an end

3311080 SSFF raith headshots 'John McGlynn - Raith Rovers individual head shots - at Starks Park, Kirkcaldy
3311080 SSFF raith headshots 'John McGlynn - Raith Rovers individual head shots - at Starks Park, Kirkcaldy

RAITH Rovers are on the hunt for a new manager after the John McGlynn era came to an end this week.

After weeks of speculation, McGlynn was finally named the new Hearts manager on Tuesday, ending a five-and-a-half year spell in charge of the Kirkcaldy club.

McGlynn leaves behind a legacy of transforming an ailing second division club into one which came within two games of promotion to the SPL, and 90 minutes from a Scottish Cup final.

He said his goodbyes to the Raith players after Tuesday night’s training session, ahead of his first media conference at Tynecastle today (Thursday).

The departing boss told the Press: “I’m leaving Raith Rovers with a heavy heart, but the opportunity to go back to Hearts is so great, I couldn’t turn it down.

“I’ve had five-and-a-half great years at Stark’s Park, made many friends, and I’ve got a lot of feelings for the club.

“It’s been a rollercoaster of highs and lows, but I believe I’ve put some pride back into Raith Rovers.

“I’d like to thank the board of directors who have been great to me over the years, and all the players I’ve worked with.

“Without their efforts to go out and get results I wouldn’t be getting this opportunity to manage Hearts.

“The backroom staff have also been fantastic to work with and given me great support over the years.

“It’s a shame that circumstances are such that I can’t take them with me, but it’s good for Raith that there is the opportunity for some continuity there.

“I’d also like to thank the Raith fans for accepting me and supporting me tremendously.

“I’ve enjoyed a good rapport with them and I hope they feel that I’ve left the club in a better position than when I arrived.

“I’d like to wish the club all the very best for next season and I look forward to a quick return to Stark’s Park for Laurie Ellis’ testimonial on July 14.”

Assistant manager Paul Smith has taken temporary charge of the team, but has ruled himself out of the job on a permanent basis due to his business interests outwith football.

“It’s tempting but it’s very much wrong timing for me with my work,” Smith said.

“I’m happy to take on the caretaker role, and will do whatever it takes to keep things ticking over until the board make a decision over which way they want to go.”

Smith also tipped McGlynn to be a success at Hearts, adding: “I’m absolutely delighted for him. It shows that sometimes hard work does pay off.

“John’s worked very hard from his early days at Tynecastle, and continued that at Stark’s Park.

“He was unfortunate not to get his big move a few years ago when he won manager of the year, and he maybe thought the chance had passed him by.

“But he’s been recognised for the fantastic job he’s done at Raith - and now he’s got his dream job.”

The Raith board met in advance of McGlynn’s departure to pour over a list of possible candidates for the managerial vacancy.

The Press understands that current club captain Grant Murray, who has been working towards his UEFA coaching badges, is the early front-runner for the post.

Raith director Turnbull Hutton said: “The board have been conscious of the fact that John’s dream job was to be Hearts manager.

“So when Hearts made an approach there was no question of us refusing John the right to speak to them.

“Hearts have been good to us in more ways than one – with training facilities, loan players, equipment and everything else. We’ve a good relationship with Hearts.

“We’ve had almost six years service from John - and I can say he’s a hard-working, ethical human being.

“He’s enjoyed his time here and has worked well with the board and the players, accepting the limited resources that we’ve had and worked his way around these.

“John goes with the best wishes of everyone on the board, and we hope he is given the space and freedom to do a great job at Hearts.

“Whatever the future holds for John, he will always be welcome here at Stark’s Park.

“We now have to get the right management team in place that is going to build on the foundations that John has given us.”