Hearts coach eyes victory to allow time to find 'right' manager and sporting director

MacPhee believes the process of hiring could take a bit of time and Hearts must start winning in the meantime

Friday, 8th November 2019, 5:05 pm

Hearts interim manager Austin MacPhee hopes a first league win at Tynecastle Park this season can ease pressure on the club as they look for a new head coach and sporting director.

The club are desperate for a turnaround in fortunes following a dismal start to the season which saw manager Craig Levein sacked last week with the side in the relegation play-off zone.

"I do think that if I can find a way for the team to win at home for the first time in a long time on Saturday, everybody will relax a little bit," MacPhee said.

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Hearts interim boss Austin MacPhee. Picture: SNS

"Doing this (the recruitment) right might take a bit of time. What I think is important for the long-term future of the club is that the right people are found for these positions.

"This club should be in the Europa League. It should have an opportunity to get to the group stages. Beating St Mirren is part of that."

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Hearts take on the Scottish Premiership's bottom side on Saturday, but go into the fixture above them only on goal difference.

MacPhee took a reduced squad to St Andrews on Thursday for a short training camp ahead of the game.

The players trained in the same Fife base they used before the Scottish Cup final against Celtic in May, which has also been used by the likes of Barcelona and Manchester City.

"I wanted to spend longer with the players", he said. "In my experience with international football, although you don't play as many games, I feel I know those players better.

"I took less players. I wanted to make sure the standard and intensity is as high as it should be.

"I also want the players to think they can train themselves into the team, but they can also train themselves out of the team. By opening that door some players this week have trained themselves into the team."

One of those players may be Steven Naismith, who returned to the team in last weekend's Betfred Cup semi-final loss to Rangers, coming on as a substitute.

He could also be joined by Jamie Walker, Jake Mulraney and Loic Damour, who all are in contention to return. However, Glenn Whelan could be further away as he battles back pains.

"I'm positive about (Jamie) Walker, as a player and how he's trained this week. I need to manage players back into the team, so they don't run the risk of injury," MacPhee added.