Hearts to lose chiefs to Celtic, QPR

Hearts are set to lose two of their staff.

The Scotsman says Queens Park Rangers and Celtic respectively targeting commercial director Ali Russell and academy director John Murray.

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Russell, who moved to Tynecastle in 2005 from his position as the Scottish Rugby Union's head of marketing, is understood to have held advanced discussions with a view to becoming the Championship outfit's new chief executive.

QPR are in the midst of a rapid rebuilding process at all levels, after a takeover by Bernie Ecclestone and Flavio Briatore, backed by the investment of Lakshmi Mittal, causing them to be dubbed the richest club in the world in many quarters. Russell's successes at Tynecastle include agreeing the most lucrative kit manufacturing sponsorship in Hearts' history with Umbro.

Murray's departure would be more keenly felt on the football side. The Belfast-born academy director and chief scout has worked for Hearts for 11 years, three of which have been full-time, and he has been responsible for bringing a host of players from youth to first-team level to the club.

It is believed Celtic have had an initial approach for Murray's services rejected by Hearts, but the Scottish champions are set to renew their offer in the coming days.

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