Gary Locke was on Saturday appointed Hearts manager on a permanent basis, a day before the club's encounter with St Mirren in the Scottish League Cup final.
Locke had been managing the team on a caretaker basis and has been given the job full-time despite talks between Hearts and former Dundee United manager Peter Houston about the managerial vacancy.
"It has certainly come as a bit of a surprise," Locke told Hearts TV.
"I've been happy with the way things have gone in the last couple of weeks and hopefully we can finish the week on an ultimate high by bringing a cup back to Tynecastle."
Locke stepped up from the role of first-team coach after manager John McGlynn was sacked following a run of four consecutive defeats.
The club confirmed that Locke had been handed a contract "until the end of next season", with Edgaras Jankauskas and Darren Murray continuing to work as his assistants.
"We considered several people for the job and were close to making an appointment of what we believed to be the best of outside candidates, but it was Gary Locke who scored more points among the board members and now I believe that it is right that Gary, Edgaras and Darren continue to be given an opportunity to build on the work they have begun," said Hearts director Sergejus Fedotovas.
"Gary clearly has the same desire as a coach that he showed as a player for the club and with the support of Edgaras, Darren and the players, he has an opportunity to deliver success to the club.
"Our decision provides certainty to everyone through to the end of next season and reinforces the focus we all have in trying to achieve a special chapter in the history of this club on Sunday."
As a player, Locke played for Hearts 189 times and was the captain of the team that triumphed in the 1998 Scottish Cup, despite missing the victory over Rangers in the final due to injury.