First Team

standards have been set

2nd September 2018

Austin MacPhee believes the fact his players got frustrated by not scoring any second-half goals against St Mirren proves just how high the standards are at Hearts.

A first-half goal blitz saw the Jambos sweep aside the Buddies 4-1, with Olly Lee and a Steven Naismith hat-trick bagging all three points and maintaining the club’s 100% Ladbrokes Premiership win record.

The assistant manager identified a multitude of positives from the game, with the biggest being the players’ sense annoyance of that they couldn’t add to their goal tally.

“One of the biggest positives for me today was the frustration shown by the players in the second half, the likes of Steven Naismith who have such high standards,” he said. “We didn’t get the fluency of the first half, and we wanted to do better.

“We’ve strengthened too, with Craig Wighton who did well when he came on, Arnaud Djoum who’s such an important presence for us, and Demetri Mitchell, who on his second debut excited supporters and was unlucky with a terrific overhead kick.

“It all looks very positive, and I just hope over the international break, our supporters don’t suffer too much from vertigo looking at that league table.”

A potentially testing week for the club was made smoother by everyone carrying on with their roles and giving that bit more.

Austin thinks that process was a simple one thanks to the way Craig Levein has shaped the club since returning to Tynecastle in 2014.

“Yesterday, I was the assistant manager,” he said. “Not the acting head coach, purely because of the infrastructure Craig has put in place as director of football, and I think that stood up yesterday.

“He’s given young players, and young staff, the experience in case the moment came so that we wouldn’t be caught in the headlights, when we had to drive the bus for a short period of time.”