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Austin MacPhee hopes win over St Mirren settles managerless Hearts down

Austin MacPhee is hopeful Hearts’ emphatic 5-2 win over St Mirren will ward off any feeling of ‘panic’ in the club’s search for a new manager and sporting director.

The Jambos scored five goals for the first time in a top-flight fixture since hammering Inverness in August 2016 to move away from the relegation places, while it was their maiden Premiership victory at Tynecastle this season.

Strikes from Steven Naismith, Ollie Bozanic, Jamie Walker, Jake Mulraney and a Sean McLoughlin own goal did the damage against the Buddies, who twice restored parity through Jon Obika and Danny Mullen in a breathless first period.

And caretaker boss MacPhee believes the impressive victory should buy the Hearts hierarchy time as they seek to make two crucial appointments in the aftermath of Craig Levein’s departure.

He said: “I hope the performance of the players and their reaction to me in this interim role means nobody panics.

“It allows everybody to breath and get the order of doing things right. As Ann [Budge] has spoken about, there’s an intention of hiring a sporting director as well as a new head coach.

“Hopefully, today the supporters see that I can get the team full of energy and on the front foot. If the team does that in the interim period then it allows the people making the decisions more time – and when you have more time you make better decisions.

“My role is to steady the ship, get the team on the front foot and moving up the league. That allows the board of directors time to assess things.”

MacPhee is seen as a credible candidate for either role at Hearts, given his credentials as a coach and his successful creation of a soccer school and other business ventures.

However, he was reluctant to be drawn on his preference after an eye-catching audition.

He added: “My record as interim manager is four wins out of five – we lost to Rangers in the semi-final – and I am just focused on doing that. Ann will assess my competencies for whatever role.”

The defeat for St Mirren leaves them two points adrift of St Johnstone at the foot of the table and boss Jim Goodwin described the defensively dismal showing as one of his worst days in the dugout.

He rued: “That’s as bad a day as I’ve had as a manager. I’ve been fortunate that in the short period I’ve had relative success with Alloa and I was given the opportunity to come here and we’ve done OK.

“We’ve received a lot of plaudits in terms of how we’ve been defensively, organised and the structure has been great.

“We’d not given many goals away prior to Saturday but unfortunately today we were a shadow of that organised team that we’ve been. I’m frustrated, disappointed and all of those words.”