Craig Gordon does not believe former Hearts team-mate Paul Hartley would be automatically excluded from consideration for the Tynecastle manager's job because of his part in the 'Riccarton Three' protest.
Hartley and Gordon flanked Steven Pressley as the then club captain revealed "significant unrest" in the dressing room in October 2006. Majority shareholder Vladimir Romanov branded them "traitors" and Pressley and Hartley soon left for Celtic, but Gordon retained his place in goal until a multi-million pound move to Sunderland the following August.
Hartley almost returned to Hearts in 2010 but the move reportedly broke down over his unwillingness to renounce his part in the impromptu media briefing at the club's training ground.
Free agent Gordon, who has been invited by Hearts to train at Riccarton while he seeks a new club, said: "He parted on reasonably good terms with the club and the owner. It was a long time ago and I don't think that will cause any problems if he's the right man for the job.
"He has done very well in his short managerial career. With a promotion under his belt he becomes a realistic option now as do a few others. Colin Cameron has done well, Steven Pressley at Falkirk.
"There are a few ex-Hearts players who have started their managerial careers very positively and have put themselves in the frame by the fact they have done so well."
Hartley led Alloa to the Irn-Bru Third Division title in his first season in management while former Hearts skipper Cameron guided Cowdenbeath to the Second Division trophy.
Pressley lifted the ALBA Challenge Cup with Falkirk and took his youthful side to third in the First Division. And Gordon is not surprised his former team-mates are excelling having seen management potential in them during their playing days.
"Probably Steven more than Paul to start with," the 29-year-old said. "With Paul's links within the game and his knowledge of Scottish football, he seems to know every player at every club in every division. I knew he was a football man and was always going to stay within football. The success he has had is no real surprise."