Hearts v Aberdeen: Niall McGinn wary of Austin MacPhee influence

Austin McPhee (right) talks to Hearts head coach Ian Cathro during their 4-0 win over Kilmarnock
MacPhee (right) and Hearts head coach Ian Cathro enjoyed their first win in charge against Kilmarnock
Scottish Premiership: Hearts v Aberdeen
Date: Friday, 30 December Venue: Tynecastle Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Coverage: Build-up and commentary from 18:30 on BBC Radio Scotland; Live text commentary on BBC Sport website and app

Niall McGinn has backed Austin MacPhee to be a success as Hearts assistant but hopes his Northern Ireland colleague fails to plot a win over Aberdeen.

MacPhee remains assistant coach with McGinn's national team, as well as Ian Cathro's number two at Tynecastle.

"The work he does behind the scenes regarding the opposition is second to none," said Aberdeen winger McGinn ahead of Friday's meeting in Edinburgh.

"Hopefully he does well, but not too well too soon."

MacPhee was on the coaching staff with Cowdenbeath and St Mirren before joining Michael O'Neill's backroom team with Northern Ireland in 2014.

The Scot's reputation grew as O'Neill's side reached the last 16 at this summer's European Championships, culminating in his recent move to Tynecastle.

"Austin's a top man," McGinn said of the 37-year-old. "He is very thorough in his work.

"I'm obviously pleased for him that he is involved in a club job now and he's doing well for himself.

"He is still involved with Northern Ireland as well and that experience will stand him in good stead with Hearts.

Niall McGinn scores Aberdeen's third goal in their recent 3-1 win at Motherwell
McGinn hopes to maintain his recent scoring run of three goals in his last five games

"He is highly regarded and it just shows that, with him doing well under Michael O'Neill with Northern Ireland, he is getting recognised.

"He works a lot on set-pieces and, knowing him, he will obviously make sure that Hearts are well organised at set-pieces and hard to break down as well."

Aberdeen, in third place, are three points ahead of Hearts in the Scottish Premiership going into Friday's game at Tynecastle, their last before a three-week winter break.

"It's obviously an important game off the back of two great results for ourselves over Motherwell and Hamilton," McGinn added.

"There's always a great atmosphere at Tynecastle, always an intense game and two good sides going at it and wanting to win the game.

"It's obviously the last game of 2016 and you want to go out on a high."

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