Dundee United have confirmed that manager Robbie Neilson has left the club to rejoin his former side Hearts.
The Tangerines had initially rejected a move by the Jam Tarts to speak to their head coach but at Neilson’s insistence they relented and the “contractual termination clause” came into play.
Compensation was agreed between the two teams and Neilson will now be back at Tynecastle after previously being in charge of the Gorgie side.
United chairman Mark Ogren said: “Although we are understandably disappointed, we at Dundee United Football Club are bigger than one person and we will continue to work towards our long-term plan with our staff and players and, of course, our loyal supporters.
“Robbie played a huge role in our journey so far, however, we now look towards the future, with a new leader and renewed hope for our fans.”
Tannadice sporting director Tony Asghar added: “I can confirm that I was called today by (Hearts owner) Ann Budge seeking permission to speak with Robbie Neilson to become Hearts’ new head coach.
“This was turned down, however, after lengthy discussions with Robbie he made it clear he wished to speak with them. As a result of this, the contractual termination clause has been met and Robbie will leave the club.
“As head coach, he led the team to a play-off final before achieving promotion with a Championship title this season and I would like to thank him for his contribution.
“Gordon Forest and Lee McCulloch will continue leading our pre-season preparations ahead of the Scottish Premiership restart and we will look to appoint a new head coach as soon as possible.”
Speaking to the Hearts website after the move was rubber-stamped, Neilson declared: “You don’t turn down the chance to come to a club like Hearts and I’m absolutely delighted to be coming back.
“I had some great experiences here, both as a player and manager, and I’m keen to pick up where I left off.
“Everyone knows there is a really good squad at Hearts and I’m excited to begin working with the players and staff.
“Finally, I’d like to say thank you to Dundee United for the opportunity they gave me two years ago. I hope the United fans feel that together we managed to restore the club back to where it belongs.”