Austin MacPhee takes Hearts to St Andrews to prepare for ‘cup final’

Hearts interim manager Austin MacPhee has taken the players to St Andrews. Picture: Ross Parker/SNS
Hearts interim manager Austin MacPhee has taken the players to St Andrews. Picture: Ross Parker/SNS
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Austin MacPhee has taken Hearts to St Andrews for a short training camp as they prepare for a “cup final” against St Mirren.

The Tynecastle players trained yesterday at the same Fife base they utilised before the Scottish Cup final defeat against Celtic in May, which has previously hosted the likes of Manchester City and Barcelona.

The players stayed in a nearby hotel overnight and will be put through their paces again this morning before returning to Edinburgh.

MacPhee, who is aiming to stake his claim for the Hearts job permanently after 
replacing Craig Levein on an interim basis, is hopeful the opportunity to build camaraderie and work on tactics will pay dividends. His first match in charge ended in a chastening 3-0 defeat by Rangers in Sunday’s Betfred Cup semi-final, however Saturday’s visit of St Mirren provides a more realistic chance to score a maiden victory.

The fixture has swiftly become a crunch clash in the battle to avoid the drop, 
with the pair locked on eight points at the foot of the Premiership. Hearts are above the Buddies on goal difference.

MacPhee explained: “We want the game to feel like a cup final for the players. We haven’t won at home for far too long.

“Coming here [St Andrews] allows us to train more, have time with the players and make sure they are crystal clear in what we want them to do on Saturday.

“We are building up to a massive game for this club.”