Interim boss MacLean fully focused on St Johnstone’s clash with Hibs

The Perth side are in relegation trouble after six game without a win.

Steven MacLean refused to be drawn on his prospects of becoming St Johnstone manager on a permanent basis, but did confirm he is keen on the idea of becoming a boss at some point.

The 40-year-old was number two at McDiarmid Park until being asked to step up and become caretaker in the wake of Callum Davidson’s sacking last Sunday.

MacLean insisted his focus for now is solely on preparing Saints – who have been sucked back into relegation contention after six games without a win – for this Saturday’s cinch Premiership match at home to Hibernian.

“With Callum’s blessing, I spoke to the chairman and he wanted me to take over for the foreseeable future, or whenever, just to lead the team forward,” said the former Saints striker, discussing the current state of play at the club as he faced the media for the first time on Wednesday.

“I spoke to the chairman on Sunday, we’ve had one conversation, so all I’m thinking about is the Hibs game. I’ll speak to the chairman after that and whatever happens in the future will happen. The full focus is three points. It’s really important we get a good performance.”

Although coy on the current vacancy at Saints, MacLean – who scored in the Perth side’s 2014 Scottish Cup final triumph – is open to trying his hand at management after embarking on a coaching career when he hung up his boots almost three years ago.

“It’s always crossed my mind, I think that’s why you go into coaching,” he said when asked about his managerial ambitions. “I loved my job working under Callum.

“I learned so much from him. He’s a top coach and a top manager. I can’t thank him enough for bringing me to the club.

“What will be will be. I’m not sure whether I’m wanting to be a manager right now. I just want to basically win on Saturday, that’s all I’m thinking about.”

MacLean, who revealed he had a “sad, emotional” conversation with Davidson following his sacking at the weekend, is optimistic that Saints can get back on track and stave off the threat of relegation after slipping to within five points of bottom-placed Dundee United and within four of both Ross County and Kilmarnock.

“Results haven’t been great, especially at home, but we’ve got good players in the dressing room,” said the caretaker boss. “It wasn’t long ago we were challenging for the top six.

“Sometimes it’s just a little bit of luck you need. We’ve had a few red cards. Little things can turn games, so hopefully we can get a bit of a magic or a bit of luck. I’m confident we’ll get a reaction from the players this weekend.”

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