Hearts striker warns team-mates they are playing for their future

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Hearts striker Steven MacLean has warned his team-mates that they are already playing for their futures even though incoming manager Daniel Stendel is not yet in the dugout.

The Gorgie side have only won one game from the five that interim boss Austin MacPhee has overseen so far, and needed an 88th minute equaliser from MacLean to rescue a point in Wednesday’s home draw with Livingston.

MacPhee has said that he expects former Barnsley manager Stendel to be confirmed as Craig Levein’s permanent replacement early next week, with owner Ann Budge attempting to thrash out a compensation deal with the Tykes.

(Pic: Hearts TV)

Hearts are just a point clear of Premiership basement side St Mirren ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Motherwell and MacLean insists Stendel will already be doing his homework on the underperforming squad from afar.

MacLean said: “I’m sure when the new manager comes in he’ll be watching Wyscout (online video analysis platform) and things. 

“People are playing for their futures. If players think that they’re not playing for their futures now then it’s a lie. 

“The potential new manager will be watching games from afar and on Wyscout.

“He’ll see what he wants and take it from there, whether everyone has a clean slate when he comes in or not you’re playing for your future already before he even comes in and the boys will know that. 

“We’ve got to stick together, work hard and try and get as many points as possible because we’re at the wrong end of the table in a dogfight.”

Stendel was hugely popular among the Barnsley fans after leading the team to League One promotion last season before being sacked in October.

MacLean, however, admits he does not know much about the German.

He added: “I’m just going off reports and what everyone else is saying but he looks good. 

“He wants to play high tempo but until he comes in you can’t rally comment. 

“It’ll happen when it happens and as players we’ll just be professional about it. 

“I’m sure he’ll judge the squad when he comes in and look forward to what he wants to do.

“All managers are different and I’ve worked under a lot of different ones. They all have their own thoughts.”

MacLean insists Wednesday’s frustrating stalemate with the Lions proves the players are still giving everything for the cause.

He said: “I thought we started the game really well and probably should have been two or three up. 

“Then they scored with their first attack and it’s a bad goal from our point of view. 

“It rocked us a bit but fair play, we dug in, came back and kept going until the end. 

“It shows our character. We’re still together, we’re working hard and we’ll keep fighting, go to Motherwell on Saturday and try and get three points.”

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