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MacPhee takes over at Hearts after Levein exit

 

Northern Ireland coach Austin MacPhee will take charge of Hearts against Rangers in the Betfred Cup semi-final at Hampden Park on Sunday, following the sacking of Craig Levein. (PA)
Northern Ireland coach Austin MacPhee will take charge of Hearts against Rangers in the Betfred Cup semi-final at Hampden Park on Sunday, following the sacking of Craig Levein. (PA)

By Andy Newport

Northern Ireland coach Austin MacPhee will take charge of Hearts against Rangers in the Betfred Cup semi-final at Hampden Park on Sunday, following the sacking of Craig Levein.

The club announced Levein had been relieved of his duties as first-team boss within 24 hours of the club slumping to 11th place in the Ladbrokes Premiership, level on points with bottom club St Mirren, following a 1-0 defeat by St Johnstone.

The former Scotland boss has stepped down from the club's board and will not return to his role as director of football. A statement stressed he would have no input into the first team or influence over his successor.

The statement read: "Craig will not return to his previous director of football role and, that being so, will step down from the board.

"He will, however, see out his contract, which runs until the end of the season, working closely with the executive management team in continuing to develop and improve the structure of the backroom and youth operations within the development," it added.

"We are confident that his knowledge and experience will contribute massively to ensuring that, come the end of the season, he will leave the football department in a healthy and thriving state.

"Effective immediately, Austin MacPhee will be in charge of first-team affairs, on an interim basis, while the board begins the process of recruiting a new manager."

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