Hearts vowed yesterday to appoint the "right man" after Billy Davies was ruled out of the running to become head coach.
The Tynecastle club has distanced itself from speculation linking the Preston North End manager with a move to Scotland and the Preston chairman Derek Shaw dismissed the notion yesterday.
But despite also missing out on an ambitious move for Sir Bobby Robson, Hearts are convinced they will have a big-name manager in place to lead the club back to better days.
"The important thing more than anything else is to get the right man," a senior figure close to the club said yesterday. "This is the most important decision to be made by Hearts in quite some time, for all sorts of reasons, so the club won't be rushed and will take their time."
Phil Anderton, the Hearts chief executive, is still working his way through the sizeable shortlist and the source added: "It's all speculation at the moment. The search is ongoing and Phil Anderton is the man doing the work. He was given a mandate by the board to find the right man.
"A whole host of people have shown an interest in the job and the next stage was talking to a significant number of people to ascertain whether they were serious about the position or the best man for the job.
"That's why the Bobby Robson thing came up because Bobby Robson was linked with the job and Phil had meetings with him to find out if Bobby was as enthusiastic about the opportunity as people were saying. As a result that's why an offer was not made to Bobby Robson."Reuse content