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MacPhee bemoans injury blows in Hearts' cup defeat

The interim boss expects to remain in charge for the match against St Mirren.

Hearts interim boss Austin MacPhee admitted his disappointment at failing to reach the League Cup final but said his side conceded at the wrong time to Rangers and were hit by injury once again.

The coach was asked to step in after Craig Levein was sacked and had laid out a game plan for the match at Hampden but saw the club's injury troubles continue before Rangers scored three without reply.

"It was disappointing," MacPhee said. "We knew everything had to go our way if we were to get a result.

"In the first half it was a blow to lose Glenn Whelan so early, he's a very important player for us and has experienced these situations before. And then we lost the goal just before half time.

"Rangers dominated the first-half in possession but when you get to 45 minutes you hope you can get in and regroup.

"We planned to add Jamie Walker and Steven Naismith to the team later on as they're returning from injury, as well as having Uche strong at the end of the game, but obviously I had to introduce him earlier.

"After half time we lost a goal and also Michael Smith and it was a terrible time to lose a goal, as well as two key players lost through injury."

MacPhee said he will talk with Hearts chairman Ann Budge on Monday to find out if he is to remain in charge as the club search for a permanent successor. He pointed out his record in previous games and said that he expected to be in the dugout next Saturday and would continue to prepare the side in the same way.

"This is the fourth game that I've stood in due to a variety of circumstances and I've won my previous three, against Motherwell, Livingston and St Mirren," he said. "This is a cup semi-final against Rangers at Hampden. We haven't beaten them since 2017.

"We've lost two experienced players to injury. I'm just going to try to do what I've done the other times and try to make sure that Hearts are prepared to beat St Mirren on Saturday.

"I'll meet with Ann tomorrow morning, which was scheduled anyway.

"We'll obviously talk about the structure for the next week but I would imagine I'll be in charge against St Mirren."

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