Hearts chairman Roman Romanov has pleaded with supporters to back newly-appointed coach Graham Rix, claiming the former Chelsea assistant manager deserves a second chance.

Rix, named as successor to George Burley on Monday, was convicted of unlawful sex with a 15-year-old girl in 1999 and spent six months in prison.

“He had problems, I think it is in the past,” Romanov told the club’s official website.

“I understand how fans feel and I would ask them to really look at his professional career. He achieved a lot with Chelsea (as assistant manager). Every man deserves a second chance.”

“He has a lot of experience with Chelsea and he proved himself there,” added Romanov. “He earned six trophies in three-and-a-half years at Chelsea from 1997 to 1999.

“He knows what he is doing, he knows football and he has great desire for his job. That is why we made this decision.

“He (Rix) has desire, he is hungry to be coach and you can see it in his eyes,” he said.

“He has the knowledge and ability to make players better and can push Hearts further.”