First Team

We Want To Get Supporters Off Their Seats

8th November 2019

Austin MacPhee wants his Hearts side to up the tempo when they host St Mirren tomorrow.

The last time Austin took charge at Tynecastle against the Buddies the result was a 4-1 Jambos victory, with a Steven Naismith hat-trick to boot.

Looking to bounce back from last weekend, Austin said: "This is a different game. We're at Tynecastle, and my experience as interim manager here has been nothing but successful, in the games that I've taken previously. I want to make sure that we give supporters something early on in the game, so that they will stay with the team."

Elaborating on the type of game plan he wants implement, the interim manager added: "I heard the St Mirren manager saying that 'if they can get through the first 20 minutes, they know that Tynecastle is a difficult place to play when a Hearts team isn't on the front foot isn't aggressive, isn't pressing, isn't creating chances, isn't having shots on goal'.

"We want to do all the things to get a supporter off their seat. So, if the supporter has been in the pub for a few pints between 12 and 2.30, we want them to come here and we give them what they want.

"We can't play slowly. We have to play fast. We have to play in St Mirren's half. We have to ask them different questions in the ways that we attack. We have to not overthink about things. We have to try and get on top of them.  We have to try and get an early goal. We have to do the things that excite supporters."

Tomorrow's match is the second of Austin's latest spell as interim manager. Inspired by Scottish teams' performances in Europe last night, he is firmly of the opinion that once Hearts have a new structure in place they can once again bid to make the European stage.

"I believe with Hearts, whoever is the new head coach, and the sporting director, that this club should have clear targets to be in the Europa League," he said. "I think for the infrastructure that we have and the budget that we have, the club should be in the top four.

"There are clubs in the Europa League that have less resources than Hearts, less supporters, less budgets, not as good a training ground, not as good an academy, not as good a stadium, not in a capital city.

"Slovan Bratislava are there, Partizan [Belgrade] are there, [F91] Dudelange are in the group stages, FC Oleksandriya from Ukraine, Malmo.

"We also have a fantastic group of players. We have a number of them injured just now, so I don't think there's a lot of surgery to be done on the squad, there's just players [that] have to return fit.

"Of course, getting from the qualification rounds into the group stages has been a challenge for Scottish teams - I've got my own thoughts on why.

"But, there are teams with less resources in less developed leagues, who achieve that. Whoever sits here as head coach, sporting director, should have their roles and objectives aligned and they should be held accountable for achieving Europa League football."

To watch Austin's press conference in full on HeartsTV, click here.