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Latest SPL News: Celtic, Ivanauskas, Rix, and the Scottish Cup Final

Craig continues our weekly update on all things Scottish (well, just the football really).

Hearts have been making waves again this week after it was rumoured that puppet head coach Valdas Ivanauskas will step down as manager and instead be given another role at the club. The club have refused to confirm the rumours but if he leaves he will be the 6th manager to leave the club since Romanov took over in 2005. John Robertson, George Burley, Graham Rix and Ivanauskas have all been in permanent charge while John McGlynn and Eduard Malofeev had temporary roles. Burley’s sacking was astonishing – Hearts won their first 12 league games before a draw with Celtic was deemed to be a sackable offence. Robertson and Ivanauskas both performed reasonably well as managers and should have been given more time. Rix was the only one who deserved his fate – he took charge with the club clear at the top of the SPL and almost managed to drag them down to 3rd place, despite Rangers having their worst team for decades.

Hearts currently sit 4th in the SPL despite the turmoil, and are level on points with 3rd placed Aberdeen and Rangers are still within touching distance. Despite this, attracting a replacement for Ivanauskas would be incredibly difficult, it’s unlikely any self-respecting manager would wish to join when Roman Romanov – chairman and son of the owner Vladimir – admitted that any new boss would have only 50 or 60% control. The one name which has been linked with the post is that of Kestutis Latoza, a Lithuanian (bet that came as a big surprise!!) who once led a Faroese team to a 15-0 defeat in a league match.

In the Scottish Cup, Celtic, Hibs and Dunfermline booked their places in the semi-finals at the weekend. Celtic were 1-0 down to Inverness CT with a minute to go before late goals from Pressley and then a Kenny Miller strike in injury time saw them through. 18 year-old Irishman Cilian Sheridan came on for his debut with 20 minutes to go and set up Miller for the winner, earning himself a 3 year pro-contract. Hibs beat 1st division strugglers Queen of the South 2-1 away from home, with new signing Thomas Sowunmi scoring the winner – his first for the club. And a Steven Simmons double guided Dunfermline to a 2-0 victory at home to 1st division Partick Thistle. But the goalscorer will miss the semi after receiving a yellow card for over-celebrating. Motherwell and St Johnstone will battle it out for the final place on Wednesday night.