Interim Hearts boss Austin MacPhee has moved to explain why the Jambos struggled to compete with Rangers.

A Filip Helander goal followed by two Alfredo Morelos strikes had Hearts staring down the barrel of a 3-0 League Cup semi-final defeat.

MacPhee watched as his side were toppled by Rangers. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

As quoted by the Daily Record, MacPhee has opened up on the Jambos’ struggles.

He said: “I thought in the first half we struggled to go forward with the ball, all our possession seemed to end up back with Joel. Rangers, after the first 10 minutes, pressed us well and it was a big blow to lose Glenn Whelan who’s got such experience and helps us get through that middle third of the pitch.

“We know Rangers are in good form, we know they’re scoring a lot of goals. It’s not the same as playing at Tynecastle when you play at Hampden, with the size of the pitch and everything else.

Disappointment for MacPhee. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

“The goal right after half-time is very difficult for the players to then bounce back from, but even in that moment we’ve introduced Steven Naismith and tried to get back into the game.But there’s no doubt Rangers deserved to win the game today.”

MacPhee needs a win against St Mirren following Hearts’ Rangers defeat

After a disappointing first game as interim Jambos boss, MacPhee really needs a win next weekend against St Mirren if he is to stake a realistic claim for the Hearts throne.

Whilst they weren’t helped by key players in Glenn Whelan and Michael Smith going off through injury, overall, Hearts’ gameplan was never one that could hurt Rangers.

Rangers punished Hearts. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

It was too defensive and that has to change next weekend. Losing to St Mirren would send Hearts bottom of the league, something which psychologically the club have to avoid right now.

They’ll be hurting after their League Cup elimination, but Hearts have to come back stronger next Saturday against the Buddies.

Have something to tell us about this article?