Marvin Bartley takes Queen of the South parting shot as Hearts hero in frame to replace him at Palmerston

Former Hearts hero Danny Grainger is in the running to replace Marvin Bartley as Queen of the South manager. The Doonhamers are also understood to be keen on Annan boss Peter Murphy as they look to reset after a dismal campaign that saw them finish seventh in League One.

Bartley stepped down after 17 months in charge following the 3-2 defeat at Montrose on Saturday that means the Dumfries side missed out on the promotion play-off spots by 12 points. Grainger, who won the Scottish Cup with Hearts in 2012, left his position as Workington boss last week after two years in which he led the Cumbrians to promotion into the Northern Premier League.

The 37-year-old, who also had spells as a player at St Mirren, St Johnstone, Dundee United and Gretna as well as Carlisle United, is keen on the Palmerston job and his name has been put forward to Queens chiefs. But Murphy is understood to be a top target too after seven years in charge at Galabank in which he led Annan to their highest ever finish this season.

Having won promotion to League One through the play-offs a year ago the Irishman steered them to safety in the final weeks of the season with Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Stirling Albion securing an eighth placed finish - just two points behind Queens. However Murphy still has a year left on his contract at Annan and Queens' local rivals do not want to lose their man.

Bartley exited on Saturday with a pop at the professionalism of some of his players. He said: “Anyone who knows me knows I’m a massive professional and this season I think I have handed out over 100 fines.

“It’s just not been good enough from certain individuals. There will be a fair few that will look at themselves and be disappointed. Budgets dictate who you get. Sometimes players are at this level because they want to go up the way.

“Sometimes they’re at this level because they just want to float around and sometimes they are at this level because they are going to try and trick you that they will come in and do the right things and be the right professionals but have no plans of doing it. That’s been the biggest difficulty for me.”

The former Hibs and Livingston midfielder also claimed his budget was nowhere near the three other full-time clubs in the division, champions Falkirk, Hamilton and Cove Rangers. He added: “There’s this stigma around part-time and full-time in this league. We are a full-time club with a budget much closer to the part-time teams.

You saw it when Edinburgh City players were leaving there. We tried to sign them and they were saying they were on the same wage part-time at Edinburgh City as we were offering them to go full-time.

“Going forward nothing’s going to change unless the new board decide to get a vastly bigger budget to get closer to the full-time teams then there’s going to have to be a patience to allow the young players to grow.”