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MacPhee unsure whether he will lead Hearts against Rangers after Killie defeat

Hearts interim manager Austin MacPhee admitted he is not sure whether he will be in charge for next weekend’s trip to Rangers following the 3-0 defeat at Kilmarnock.

The 40-year-old’s job prospects had been boosted by a win over St Mirren before the international break but took a hit after a crazy seven-minute spell at Rugby Park where the Jambos conceded three goals.

Despite the disappointing result, it was the lack of reaction from his players and tactical errors that were most concerning, but MacPhee remains optimistic.

“I don’t think the last match meant I should get the job because I think there is a bigger picture here,” he said. “I’ve taken the team six times now but I don’t know whether I’ll take the team at Ibrox next Sunday.

“I speak to Ann Budge every day, she’s assessing the situation day-by-day and I think the plan will be more long-term. Obviously when you win your odds increase but when you lose they decrease. I’ve won four games out of six but today was a very disappointing result.

“The relationship with the players is very important as caretaker manager and I have a very good relationship with them. You have to realise the reality of the situation which is you don’t have the full authority a head coach has and you need to manage within those parameters.”

More than three weeks have passed since Craig Levein was relieved of his duties and owner Ann Budge has drawn criticism from sections of the fan base for taking her time to appoint his successor.

However, MacPhee dismissed suggestions the uncertainty affected the team and praised Budge for her methodical approach.

“When people are getting emotional, Ann stays very practical so I don’t think she will rush to a decision after a victory or a defeat,” said MacPhee. “She will try to find the best person to take the club forward in the two roles, once there is a clear strategy of how the club will move forward.”

Killie manager Angelo Alessio heaped praise on Chris Burke after his man-of-the-match performance that yielded two goals and an assist.

He said: “It was a great individual performance but it doesn’t surprise me because watching him in training he seems young and not like a 35-year-old.

“He works hard every day and I think he is a professional player and I’m happy for him because he deserves this.”