Smith had been keen to appoint a specialist coach to improve his team’s success at set-pieces and MacPhee was identified as the preferred candidate.
The 41-year-old Scot, a former midfielder who played in the USA, Romania and Japan, was a long-time assistant with Northern Ireland, enjoying particular success during the reign of Michael O’Neill.
MacPhee has also worked as a No.2 in Scotland with St Mirren and Hearts and most recently the Danish club FC Midtjylland. It was during MacPhee’s time at Hearts he earned a reputation for developing imaginative corner and free-kick routines and Smith, who worked with a set piece coach at Brentford, is hopeful he can now continue that work at Villa.
The head coach is continuing to work with sporting director Johan Lange to bring in a replacement for assistant boss John Terry, following the latter’s departure last month.
A shortlist has been drawn up, with Smith thought to be keen on recruiting a coach who can bring something different to his backroom team.
Villa are prepared to take their time with the process with Craig Shakespeare and long-time No.2 Richard O’Kelly currently backing up the head coach.