March 20, 2007 / 5:22 PM / 12 years ago

Coach Ivanauskas leaves Hearts

GLASGOW (Reuters) - Hearts head coach Valdas Ivanauskas has left the club, the Scottish Premier League (SPL) team said on their Web site on Tuesday.

“Chairman Roman Romanov and the club management wish to thank him for his service...as assistant coach and later head coach,” said a statement on www.heartsfc.co.uk.

Ivanauskas’s departure followed the appointment of Russian Anatoly Korobochkha as the latest temporary manager earlier this month while Ivanauskas was away on football business.

Korobochkha had been operating as sporting director at the club after being drafted in by Lithuanian owner Vladimir Romanov and his chairman son Roman.

Roman paid tribute to compatriot Ivanauskas on Tuesday, saying: “During his period in charge of the team, Hearts won the Scottish Cup and finished second in the SPL.

“He has played a key role in the development of the team at a crucial time. Valdas made the request to leave his role as head coach.”

Ivanauskas took a break earlier this season when he returned home last October for health reasons.

Former Russia coach Eduard Malofeev was put in temporary charge for five games and failed to win any during a dismal spell before Ivanauskas returned in November.

“I’m very proud to have been Hearts coach,” Ivanauskas was quoted as saying on the Hearts Web site on Tuesday.

“In my career as a young coach, it has been my best and most interesting experience.

“I want to say how proud I am of the team...and I can see it will have a great future.

“I would like to express my gratitude to the best fans in Scotland, especially those who have given their support when times were tough.

Local media had speculated earlier this week that Ivanauskas was to quit his manager’s post to become director of football with Kestutis Latoza as favourite to replace him.

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