Austin MacPhee must wait to learn if he will be in charge of Hearts against Rangers

Interim manager will speak to owner Ann Budge as manager search continues

Saturday, 23rd November 2019, 5:58 pm
Updated Saturday, 23rd November 2019, 6:01 pm
Austin MacPhee gave an honest assessment after Hearts lost 3-0 at Kilmarnock

Austin MacPhee has no idea whether he will be in charge of Hearts at Ibrox next weekend following the demoralising 3-0 loss at Kilmarnock.

The interim manager does not expect owner Ann Budge to react rashly despite defeat leaving Hearts just one point off the bottom of the Ladbrokes Premiership.

Two goals by Chris Burke and an Eamonn Brophy put Kilmarnock 3-0 ahead inside the first 16 minutes as the visitors capitulated at Rugby Park.

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MacPhee saw his chances of securing the job permanently diminish, but he explained that Budge will take a wider view as she seeks a new manager and sporting director to run her club's football department.

"I don't think the other week against St Mirren meant I should get the job and I think there is a bigger picture here," he said. "I've taken the team six times now and won four games. Whether I'll take it at Ibrox next Sunday, I don't know.

"I speak to Ann every day and she is assessing the situation day-by-day. The plan will be more long-term. I do think that when you win your odds increase and when you lose your odds decrease.

"We lost the game with three preventable goals and now we have a huge game next Sunday at Ibrox. We need to cut out these basic errors."

MacPhee explained why Budge will not be hurried by any emotional reactions to the loss in Ayrshire.

"When people are getting emotional, Ann stays very practical. I don't think she would rush to a decision after a victory or after a defeat," he said.

"I think she will try to find who she believes is best to take the club forward in the two roles. There is a lot of work going on behind the scenes. The result at the weekend is what everybody sees but I think it will be a collective thing she looks at to make her decision."

Asked to explain what went wrong, MacPhee replied: "I think it all went wrong inside an eight-minute period when we lost three very preventable goals. The players are as angry about them as me. The first one was because we let the ball come back over and Kilmarnock had a spare man at the back post. He [Burke] finishes within our six-yard box.

"The way we reacted to that in the next five minutes was poor. We lacked composure. Brophy drifts right between our two centre-backs - neither of whom are picking up a player - and we have seven players in the box to their three. You have to deal with men in those situations.

"We are then on the back foot but we had a few corners. They clear one of them and we don't confront Burke for 45 yards. He ends up finishing within eight yards of our goal. They are basic, fundamental things. It was a crazy eight-minute period for us and from there it was an uphill struggle.

"We had headers at goal and some of our play around the box has to be sharper. We didn't manage to get the rhythm we did against St Mirren and we needed a breakthrough at the start of the second half. When that didn't happen, the game became slow. Kilmarnock are a threat on the counter-attack and I have no complaints about that."

The Kilmarnock manager Angelo Alessio explained that Burke, who turns 36 in a couple of weeks, is an inspiration to others. "I saw him in training and he seems so young - not 36 years old. He is a worker and a professional and he deserves this," said the Italian

"We scored three goals in the first 16 minutes and I think we deserve this result. A few months ago we were finding it difficult to score so I think we are happy with this. We have a lot of games coming up now, including Rangers and Celtic, so it was very important for us to win this game."