MacPhee impressed by Hearts resilience

Hearts assistant manager Austin MacPhee feels their reaction to a string of blows has shown the strength of the club’s infrastructure.

The Ladbrokes Premiership leaders sealed their seventh consecutive victory on Saturday when they beat St Mirren 4-1 at Tynecastle.

Manager Craig Levein was absent as he recovers from hospital treatment but the hosts had the game sewn up by half-time following Steven Naismith’s hat-trick and an Olly Lee volley, with only a Jimmy Dunne own goal preventing them keeping a clean sheet.

Dunne signed on loan from Burnley after Hearts lost Christophe Berra for six months with a hamstring injury, a loss which was quickly followed by the departure of Kyle Lafferty to Rangers. But Hearts have so far shrugged off the setbacks.

“We have done a lot with our structure in the past year,” MacPhee said. “We have hired more scouts than we have ever had, we are working with firms who specialise in statistics and modernised that area of the club.

“When Christophe got his hamstring injury, by the time game had finished, the scout in England had been watching the game on Sky and there were already reports on left centre-backs on our phones. We signed Jimmy Dunne within 48 hours. I thought Jimmy was excellent on Saturday, he was very good at Kilmarnock on his debut.

“I think it comes down to a club having a process and a calmness about things when it has a problem.

“For Hearts to have won seven games in a row in a period when they have lost their captain, who was our player of the year in every regard, we have lost our manager for a week, and we lost our top goalscorer from last season, it shows the power of the infrastructure within the club.

“I don’t know if some other clubs in Scotland would be able to cope as well as we have.”

St Mirren had new signing Ryan Edwards watching from the stand following his deadline-day loan move from Hearts. It was the only piece of business on Friday for Alan Stubbs, who lost out on Kenny Miller to Dundee earlier in the week.

And the Saints boss does not expect any free agents to come in to strengthen the squad.

“Probably not,” he said. “We tried to do a bit on Friday, we were interested in a few but we couldn’t get them across the line.

“I would have liked to have done more but it wasn’t to be, so we have to work with what we have got.”

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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