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NEILSON’S HEARTS DOUBLE SHUFFLE

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ROBBIE NEILSON has quit promoted Dundee United to return to Hearts as manager.

The ex-Tynecastle gaffer replaces German Daniel Stendel who had a clause in his contract he could leave the Edinburgh club if they were relegated.

Although owner Ann Budge is fighting the SPFL’s decision to demote the side, the former Barnsley manager has left after only 14 Premiership games. Disastrously, the team only won two, drew five and lost seven to complete the premature campaign four points adrift of Hamilton Accies.

Forty-year-old Neilson has signed a three-year contract after a deal was struck between the clubs.

The former Jambos full-back said he is “keen to pick up where I left off” after departing for MK Dons in 2016, according to BBC Sports News.

Assistants Gordon Forest and Lee McCulloch will take charge of the Tannadice club in the interim, with United keen to appoint a new head coach “as soon as possible”.

Neilson thanked the Tayside outfit for giving him an opportunity and said he hoped the club’s fans “feel that together we managed to restore the club back to where it belongs”.

Stendel was appointed in November after Craig Levein was sacked.

OFF THE BALL…Daniel Stendel has left Hearts.

Neilson started his management career at Tynecastle as head coach in 2014, shortly after the club had been relegated and come out of administration.

Working under the-then director of football Levein, Neilson won 62 of his 106 games in charge and followed up a Championship title win with a third-placed finish in the top flight.

Hearts were second the following season when he left for a 13-month spell in charge of MK Dons, before joining United in 2018.

Irrespective of the league situation, Neilson can look forward to a Scottish Cup semi-final with city rivals when the competition restarts, with October and November already been mooted as possible months.

Celtic face Aberdeen in the other last-four encounter.

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Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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