Hearts agree compensation terms with MK Dons over head coach Robbie Neilson
By Sky Sports News HQ
Last Updated: 01/12/16 9:45pm
Hearts have announced that they have agreed terms on a compensation deal with MK Dons ahead of Robbie Neilson’s departure from the club.
Neilson held talks with the Sky Bet League One club on Tuesday and told reporters 'what will be will be' after returning to Edinburgh to oversee Hearts 2-0 win over Rangers on Wednesday night.
Now the Tynecastle club have confirmed they have agreed terms with MK Dons that will see the 36-year-old leave Hearts after more than two-and-a-half years in charge along with his assistant head coach Stevie Crawford.
A statement on the Hearts website said the club will now begin the process of looking for Neilson's successor.
"The club can confirm that we have agreed terms with Milton Keynes Dons FC in relation to head coach Robbie Neilson and assistant head coach Stevie Crawford," the statement said.
"Ann Budge, the board of directors and everyone at Heart of Midlothian Football Club would like to sincerely thank Robbie and Stevie for the enormous part they have played in helping to re-establish the club in the upper echelons of Scottish football.
"The record-breaking 2014-15 Championship-winning season, which secured our promotion back to the top flight at the first time of asking, will long live in the memory of Hearts supporters, as will the highly impressive third place finish and the return to European football which was achieved the following season.
"They leave us in an enviable position, sitting second in the Premiership table with a healthy playing squad, rich with talent and promise. We wish them every success in their new challenge with Milton Keynes Dons FC.
"We will now begin the formal process of recruiting a new head coach and assistant head coach. A further statement confirming interim arrangements for our game against Ross County on Saturday, will be released tomorrow morning."
A statement on the MK Dons website said an agreement had been reached with Hearts and that a further announcement would be made when terms had been finalised with Neilson and Crawford.
"Milton Keynes Dons Football Club can confirm it has agreed terms with Heart of Midlothian for their head coach Robbie Neilson and assistant Stevie Crawford," the statement said.
"Neilson and Crawford are now expected at Stadium MK on Friday to finalise personal terms. A further statement will be made once the appointments are completed."
Neilson hinted after the final whistle on Wednesday that his time at Hearts was coming to an end.
"I'll be in on Thursday as usual and we'll talk about things. I expect it to be clarified then. What will be will be," he said. "It's a phenomenal place. There's nowhere else where the fans back the team like this and I've been lucky to be on the journey."
He had craftily evaded waiting media at the club's Riccarton training ground on Thursday evening with the help of a masked decoy.
He gave journalists the slip when a member of his coaching staff, believed to be head of sports science John Hill, donned a Neilson face mask along with the outgoing head coach's initialled coat as he got into his car and drove off in front of the cameras.
His immediate task once confirmed as MK Dons boss will be to prepare his side for an FA Cup tie against Charlton, who are now managed by his predecessor at the club, Karl Robinson.