Hearts expect to finalise Daniel Stendel appointment next week
Interim manager Austin MacPhee likely to remain in charge at Motherwell
Austin MacPhee expects Hearts to finalise Daniel Stendel's appointment as manager next week.
A compensation dispute with Stendel's former club Barnsley has delayed his arrival at Tynecastle Park and MacPhee is preparing to remain in interim charge for Saturday's trip to Motherwell.
"I’m led to believe that this will be concluded around the start of next week," he said when asked about the German. "So, at this point, the status quo will remain until the Motherwell game. But these things can change at any time. That’s the info I have.
"I understand the process of negotiation. At times you think something is nearly there, then there’s a double-check or a query. There are obviously complexities with the situation with Barnsley. In an ideal world, you would see into the future – but that’s not always possible in football.
"I deal with things day to day, hour to hour, prepare the team for Motherwell."
Barnsley have written to Hearts demanding a six-figure compensation sum for Stendel, who they sacked as manager in October without agreeing a financial pay-off.
Hearts drew 1-1 with Livingston at Tynecastle Park last night to move off the bottom of the Ladbrokes Premiership. Steven MacLean's 88th-minute equaliser earned a point after Marvin Bartley's first-half goal for the visitors.
"The way they played late in that game gives me great heart," said MacPhee. "You can’t accuse those players out there of giving up. They fought for each other, put their bodies on the line.
"I think the game was maybe a representation of the season. Started well, lost confidence. When you get ahead, you rarely need to change the system. If you fall behind, you end up chasing game.
"I hope the season ends up being one where the second half sees them kick on, pushing as near to third and fourth place as they can. I think they’ve got the ability to do that."
"Of course there was relief [when we scored]. We’re always disappointed that it was so late. The boys are disappointed not to have won the game, in the end, despite scoring so late."
MacPhee felt Bartley was fortunate to escape a red card for a first-half challenge on Steven Naismith, which forced the Hearts striker off injured after 25 minutes. "Personally, I would need to see it again. But my first reaction was, yes, he was lucky just to be booked," said MacPhee.
"It's been a strange day. We lost Oliver Bozanic to illness, Aaron Hickey in the warm-up, created a lot of chances and then lost Naismith. Naisy had a bang in the back but has a pain in the hamstring. He had an issue before and sometimes those things can be neural instead of muscular."
"We started really, really bright. Craig Halkett normally scores headers in his sleep. We had really good chances.
"You know how it is, if we’d gone ahead at that point we could have gone on and played well. We then lost a really bad goal, got a bit complacent because Bobby [Zlamal] came for the first long throw and claimed it. This time it hit off our player’s back and fell to their guy.
"We lost our way a bit after that bu the players showed fantastic resilience in the last 15. Young Ryo [Meshino] really helped."