Austin MacPhee urges Hearts not to repeat Rangers’ error with new manager

Austin MacPhee believes Hearts must appoint a sporting director before a new manager. Picture: SNS.
Austin MacPhee believes Hearts must appoint a sporting director before a new manager. Picture: SNS.
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Austin MacPhee has called on Hearts to appoint a sporting director before a new manager to avoid mistakes Rangers made with Pedro Caixinha.

The Edinburgh club’s interim manager stressed he has not applied for either role but has clear ideas on why one must be filled before the other – highlighting the Rangers case two years ago. The Ibrox hierarchy hired Portuguese coach Caixinha in March 2017 before Mark Allen as sporting director in August that year. There was friction between the two and they worked together for only two months before Caixinha was sacked.

Hearts need a new manager and sporting director after dismissing Craig Levein, but MacPhee, right, believes one cannot come before the other.

“My personal view is that the sporting director should always be hired before the manager so you build a relationship there,” said MacPhee. “The sporting director should be sat in as part of the interviewing process for the manager. Ultimately, I think they need to be aligned in how they see football and they need to be relaxed working in that environment.

“That’s why I feel the sporting director and head coach should have the same KPI [key performance indicators] whereby they have to lead the club to European football, and live and die by the same sword.

“The sporting director’s job is to support the manager in the football infrastructure that the club has set. The club has a plan on how it’s best going to structure itself in terms of recruitment staff, medical, academy, etc to make the best use of the player budget.

“There is a path it will go down which, of course, the sporting director influences. They then need to find a manager who has a track record of doing those things.

MacPhee remains as assistant coach at Hearts and must wait to learn the club’s long-term plans for him.

“I think the roles of sporting director and head coach must be aligned and clearly defined,” he said. “The club has to make sure they’re clear on those roles and once we clarify collectively where the lines in the sand are drawn, I am maybe better advised on that point to maybe reflect on where my skill set would be best served at Heart of Midlothian.

“The club is doing a very thorough help check on where it is and I talked about that with Ann Budge. What I feel I need to do is buy the club time so we get the proper system and put the proper people in place to take the club to the next level.”

MacPhee takes charge of the team today against St Mirren, who jointly share bottom place in the Ladbrokes Premiership with Hearts. “All I’ve done is try to focus on preparing the Hearts team as interim manager as well as I can,” he said.