Ex-Hearts captain Steven Pressley has urged director of football Craig Levein to stay out the dressing room and leave team matters to head coach Ian Cathro.
Levein was filmed giving information from the stand to be passed to the head coach during their defeat by Aberdeen.
The former manager also reportedly appeared in the dressing room.
“The argument from me would be Ian has then not got the correct support coaching staff if he’s asking Craig to do that on match day,” said Pressley.
“Ian maybe should’ve brought in a third coach that was an experienced coach that could do that job.
“He’s got to stay out the dressing room on matchday and he cannot be passing messages down.”
Cathro, given his first managerial role at the age of 30, and assistant Austin MacPhee were appointed in December to take over from Robbie Neilson, who left to take over at MK Dons after working under Levein.
Following the 2-0 loss at Pittodrie, Hearts’ eighth in 17 matches under Cathro, the new head coach insisted there was nothing unusual about his working arrangement.
Coach Jon Daly had spoken to former Scotland boss Levein in the Aberdeen stand before passing information to assistant MacPhee and Cathro on the touchline.
“The appointment was a bold appointment, but I give Craig a lot of credit in the respect that he’s one of the few directors of football that would put their neck on the line,” Pressley told BBC Scotland.
“He believed it to be the right appointment and he was bold enough and brave enough to make that decision, so I really respect him for that.”
Pressley believes that Levein should be available to give advice – but not on match days.
“It’s healthy to have discussions, of course, for Ian to have discussions with Craig pre-match, post-match,” he said.
“Alex Ferguson would argue that the manager needs total control – that’s his argument. He had that at Manchester United.
“Now people would argue he’s a senior figure, he’s there, but you’ve got to also understand the dynamics of a dressing room and the way players are.
“Craig’s presence, because I know how a dressing-room works, gives players excuses and that’s what you don’t want within a football club.
“He’s got to stay out the dressing-room on match-day and he cannot be passing messages down.”
Pressley concedes that the director of football role is becoming more popular.
“The game has changed to a degree,” he said. “There are certain clubs, smaller clubs, that will give the manager total control.
“But now, I suppose, the greater resourced clubs are going to a different structure and that’s with a director of football and it’s important when the director of football is there that there are clear parameters.
“That’s a really important aspect and everybody understands those, but also, with the director of football, to a degree, the manager’s responsibilities have been diminished in the respect of recruitment. The director of football will have a big say on recruitment.
“There comes a point where you say, ‘what does the manager actually do?’
“In my opinion, the manager has to have total control on discipline, he has total control on tactics, total control on the training regime and total control on the culture of the club – he’s got to have.
“For me, match day is the manager’s or the head coach’s – however you want to describe it.”