Austin MacPhee reveals what will increase his chances of getting Hearts job

Interim manager wants more attacking and goals at Kilmarnock

Saturday, 23rd November 2019, 7:30 am
Austin MacPhee wants Hearts to attack and score goals at Kilmarnock

Hearts interim manager Austin MacPhee believes more wins and goals will only enhance his chances of getting the job permanently. Having overseen a 3-0 Betfred Cup semi-final loss to Rangers and a 5-2 Premiership victory over St Mirren, MacPhee takes Hearts to Kilmarnock today looking to build momentum.

The Edinburgh club are still seeking a permanent replacement for former manager Craig Levein, sacked more than three weeks ago. MacPhee believes his case is strengthened if Hearts can replicate their display against St Mirren when they arrive at Rugby Park.

“If you think that winning well, playing well and exciting people increases my chances of the job, I agree with you,” he said. “Hearts want to hire someone who plays attacking football, wins games and scores goals, let’s be honest. We did that two weeks ago, so it surely can’t have damaged my chances.”

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MacPhee took umbrage at comments made by BBC Radio Scotland during their coverage of the St Mirren match and was issued an apology on air last weekend. He made a point of raising the issue.

“There were a series of comments, particularly from Allan Preston, which were lies to back up his case. His case was that Hearts are in a mess and I can’t do a job here.

“He then used four statements which were lies to justify that,” said MacPhee. “The first was that all we are doing are bringing in Manchester City academy players – when we don’t have a single Manchester City academy product in our squad. The second was that I brought Craig Wighton back into the team [for the Betfred Cup semi-final] out of nowhere to stick two fingers up at Craig Levein. Craig [Levein] actually played Craig Wighton in the last two games Craig Wighton was fully fit for, away at Celtic Park and the Scottish Cup final.

“He then got injured against Inverness and had a meniscus operation in London. So for the BBC’s Hearts expert to use that is disrespectful to Craig Wighton and totally factually incorrect.

“He also claimed the academy was not working and that the last player we sold was Callum Paterson. Another lie. Marc Leonard was sold to Brighton and Jamie Walker was sold to Wigan. Lastly, apparently I brought Malaury Martin to the club. I had never worked with Malaury Martin, didn’t know Malaury Martin. He has just picked an unsuccessful signing and said, ‘he brought him in’. I didn’t.

“There are five Northern Irish internationalists I have brought to the club. Arguably £25,000 for Michael Smith could be the best money the club has ever spent. Kyle Lafferty was the top scorer and came close to breaking Robbo’s [John Robertson] 20-goal record. The best returns on investment have been Isma Goncalves, who I worked with at St Mirren, and Lafferty.

“I know the difference between an error - we all make them - and a lie. It’s a malicious mis-statement. Four of them. I was very angry about that.

“The BBC have issued a public apology to me, which they don’t issue very often, saying that they apologise for the tone and lack of balance in the show, directed at me. But I’m not really bothered about that. It’s water off a duck’s back, genuinely.”