Hearts interim boss points to Rangers as a warning over behind the scenes plans


Hearts interim manager Austin MacPhee has cited the demise of Pedro Caixinha at Rangers in proposing that the Tynecastle club should recruit a sporting director before a new manager.

The Gorgie outfit are in the process of scouring for suitable candidates to fill the roles after Craig Levein, who had served as first team boss and director of football, was relieved of his duties on October 31.

MacPhee’s immediate priority is to lead the side to three points in today’s visit of St Mirren in a Ladbrokes Premiership bottom of the table clash.

In the long term, however, the 40-year-old believes it is essential that the sporting director is involved in the hiring of a new manager to ensure both those positions are aligned.

Supporting his argument, MacPhee pointed to Caixinha’s sacking as Rangers boss in October 2017, only two months after the appointment of Mark Allan as director of football at Ibrox.

MacPhee said: “My personal view is that the sporting director should always be hired before the manager so you build a relationship there and 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 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.

“If you do the process in another way like Caixinha and Mark Allen, so Caixinha just signed his own players because there wasn’t a sporting director.

“Then there is a sporting director who is going to propose players for positions or whatever. 

“The only thing that will result from that is conflict and the biggest thing between the two people is trust.

“The way you build trust is by having the same objectives.”

MacPhee, whose first game as interim manager ended in a 3-0 defeat in last Sunday’s Betfred Cup semi-final against Rangers, added: “People are so insecure in football and I think what you want to do try and do is remove the insecurity.

“If the sporting director is part of the interview process, the new head coach knows the sporting director has his back because he’s chosen him.”

MacPhee has been linked with both vacancies at Hearts but refused to be drawn on whether he would be interested in the sporting director’s post.

MacPhee, who turned down the chance to become the Scottish FA’s new performance director when he became then Hearts head coach Ian Cathro’s assistant in December 2016, added: “Have I applied for the job? No, I’m under contract.

“All I’ve done is try to focus on preparing the Hearts team as interim manager as well as I can.

“I will not have any regrets that I have not given this my absolute all.

“That’s all I’ll do and if people make a judgement on where my skill set is that’s fine.”