First Team

MacPhee: Injuries Upset Game Plan

3rd November 2019

Austin MacPhee felt losing two key players to injury upset Hearts game plan as they lost 3-0 to Rangers in the Betfred Cup semi-final.

The Jambos lost Glenn Whelan early on to a hamstring injury, with Michael Smith replaced just after half-time.

“It was a disappointing game," Austin admitted. "We knew everything had to go our way today and in the first half, to lose Glenn Whelan so early for us, was a body blow. He’s a very important player for us in situations like this."

Filip Helander scored moments before the break to allow Rangers a 1-0 lead at the half, before Alfredo Morelos added another in the opening seconds of the second-half.

“Rangers dominated the first half, but we did hope to get in at half time and then introduce Jamie Walker and Steven Naismith into the game later, and have Uche Ikpeazu coming into the game strong and fresh later in the match, but we then had to bring him in earlier than planned. Then we lose Michael Smith later on, so we’ve lost two key players."

One positive for the Jambos was the return of Steven Naismith, who came off the bench in the second-half.

“There’s a lot of players still returning to fitness, and Aaron Hickey had to play centre half as well today, he’s had a difficult start to his career and he’s shown tremendous resilience.

"The game on Saturday has importance that cannot be understated and we need to put in an attacking performance at Tynecastle."