Daniel Stendel is not expected to to take charge at Hearts until after this weekend’s league fixtures, with interim boss Austin MacPhee informed that he will still be at the helm for the trip to Motherwell.
Club owner Ann Budge has admitted that the process of freeing the German, who has been on extended gardening leave since being sacked by Barnsley in October, from his contract at Oakwell is proving tortuous but MacPhee said that the club have an end date in mind
“I’m led to believe that this will be concluded around the start of next week," he said after Hearts' 1-1 draw with Livingston at Tynecastle.
“So, at this point, the status quo will remain until the Motherwell game. But these things can change at any time. That’s the info I have.
“I understand the process of negotiation. At times you think something is nearly there, then there’s a double-check or a query. There are obviously complexities with the situation with Barnsley.
“In an ideal world, you would see into the future – but that’s not always possible in football. I deal with things day to day, hour to hour, and prepare the team for Motherwell," MacPhee added.
Hearts go into the match on the back of a draw, after Steven MacLean’s late goal salvaged a share of the spoils against the West Lothian outfit.
“The way they played late in that game gives me great heart,” said MacPhee.
“You can’t accuse those players out there of giving up. They fought for each other, put their bodies on the line. I think the game was maybe a representation of the season. Started well, lost confidence.
“When you get ahead, you rarely need to change the system. If you fall behind, you end up chasing game.
"I hope the season ends up being one where the second half sees them kick on, pushing as near to third and fourth place as they can. I think they’ve got the ability to do that.”
Draw 'not really a sickener' admits Holt
Livingston manager Gary Holt admitted that the home side had probably deserved something from the match.
“It’s not really a sickener. Over the piece, especially in the first half, we were very fortunate to go a goal up. They had four exceptional chances caused by our own sloppiness.
“So, yes, it’s disappointing to lose a late goal, especially the manner of it. Uche [Ikpeazu] got a toe on it while lying on the deck!
“Hearts went more direct [in second half] but caused us fewer problems. Our back line was excellent. But you’ve got to play 90-odd minutes to see out the game.”