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Malky Mackay could give up £100k to be the next Dundee United boss

© Ross MacDonald / SNS GroupScottish FA Performance Director Malky Mackay
Scottish FA Performance Director Malky Mackay

Malky Mackay is ready to take a six-figure pay cut to become manager of Dundee United.

The SFA Performance Director is the bookies’ favourite to land the post left vacant by the departure of Robbie Neilson to Hearts.

As short as Evens with BetVictor following sustained support, he heads a market that includes Lee McCulloch (6/1), Tommy Wright (8/1) and Joey Barton (12/1). The 48-year-old is already in a lucrative post, one commanding a salary in the region of £250,000.

However, with performance level football set to be put into cold storage because of the coronavirus pandemic, he is understood to be attracted by the challenge of going back to front-line management.

With previous experience of managing Watford, Cardiff City, Wigan and – on a caretaker basis for one game in 2017 – Scotland, he would certainly be a highprofile appointment for the Tannadice club.

And that would be a timely boost for the Tangerines, given the disappointment of losing the man who led them to promotion last season to a rival set to move in the opposite direction.

Even pushing the boat out, though, United would be unable to match Mackay’s current terms, with their manager’s job believed to come with a salary of nearer £150,000.

Supporters should know the outcome soon as Tannadice sporting director, Tony Asghar, has been busy working his way through interviews with shortlisted candidates.

Lee McCulloch, already a coach with the Tangerines, is thought to be the leading internal candidate.

The 42-year-old former Scotland internationalist has already been a manager in his own right.

He had a stint at Kilmarnock in 2017-18, which ended after a few months following an eight-game winless run.

Hearts, meanwhile, are continuing their search for a Sporting Director to work alongside Neilson.

The post has been vacant since Craig Levein – who teased United fans with a “never say never” when asked about a return to Tannadice – came to the end of his contract.

David Weir, part of the Edinburgh side’s Scottish Cup winning team in 1998, is seen the clear front-runner for the job.

The 50-year-old is loans manager for Brighton in the English Premier League, and his knowledge of the English market would be a clear benefit.

Adrian Bevington, former head of recruitment at Middlesbrough, is another who has been quoted.

But it is understood that a dark horse for the role is former Hearts star, Takis Fyssas.

Signed by George Burley in 2005, the Greek internationalist spent two years at Tynecastle and made over 50 appearances for the club.

Now 47, he boasts experience of direct relevance for the post, having performed a similar role at Panathinaikos in his homeland.