{"JP":[ {"NewsSection":{"name":"hearts","detaillevel":"full", "Articles": {"count":25,"detaillevel":"full","articlesList":[ {"article": { "url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/hearts-will-never-settle-for-fifth-place-cathro-1-4402854","id":"1.4402854","articleHeadline": "Hearts will never settle for fifth place – Cathro","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490423433000 ,"articleLead": "

Ian Cathro stressed today that Hearts won’t accept fifth place in the Scottish Premiership and must be bursting to climb the table when the league resumes next weekend.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4402853.1490367055!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ian Cathro says Hearts will fight to climb the table"} ,"articleBody": "

The Edinburgh club slipped from fourth to fifth last weekend when they lost to Aberdeen and St Johnstone won at Motherwell. Still harbouring European aspirations, Hearts have a fight on their hands during the remaining nine league games of the season.

They host Celtic at Tynecastle a week tomorrow as they begin trying to haul themselves back towards the top three before the top flight splits.

“We won’t settle for fifth in any set of circumstances. We have to be ready to compete to push forward and finish as high as we can,” Cathro told the Evening News.

“You don’t know what can happen above you. We need to firstly address the situation of falling down a position in the league. We have to make sure we recover the fourth position, then make sure we’re ready to fight throughout the last five games after the split.

“That’s the aim of everyone here and that’s our first priority.”

The top three teams in the Premiership come May will qualify for Europe, however, fourth place could also be good enough for a Europa League spot if one of the top three also lift the Scottish Cup.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BARRY ANDERSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4402853.1490367055!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4402853.1490367055!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Ian Cathro says Hearts will fight to climb the table","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ian Cathro says Hearts will fight to climb the table","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4402853.1490367055!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/maroon-memories-shawfield-redemption-for-delayed-hearts-1-4402555","id":"1.4402555","articleHeadline": "Maroon Memories: Shawfield redemption for delayed Hearts","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490423400000 ,"articleLead": "

League leaders Hearts arrived only 13 minutes before kick-off meeting part-time Clyde at Shawfield in the First Division, and delayed the start of the match by six minutes.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4402552.1490353310!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Johnny Hamilton playing for Hearts in 1965"} ,"articleBody": "

It was a pitch as soft as putty which meant both teams took some time to settle. James McLean had the the first shot of the game – a grounder easily saved by Jim Cruickshank.

Then Hearts’ 100-goal man, Willie Wallace, had two tries at the other end. The first gave Tommy McCulloch no great concern, and the second flashed past the posts.

Next Hearts had an escape when, after fine work by McLean, Joe Gilroy just failed to get his head to a cross from Alex Bryce. A clever Clyde attack was giving the Hearts defence very little respite, and in the 14th minute they took a not-undeserved lead. David White quickly pushed a free kick to Bryce and Gilroy headed home the winger’s cross.

Shortly afterwards Cruickshank had to make a neck or nothing dive at the feet of Gilroy to prevent Hearts going two behind.

In the 22nd minute Hearts equalised thanks to a disputed penalty when Eddie Mulheron was judged to have brought down Willie Polland. After the breeze had blown the ball from the spot, Johnny Hamilton calmly replaced it and gave McCulloch little chance of saving.

The goal helped to put some life into Hearts and Clyde had a let-off when Billy Higgins hit the crossbar with a 20-yarder.

Clyde, however, were far from finished. McLean, the best forward on the field, put through a great long ball to Sam Hastings, and from the winger’s cross Knox headed the ball, which went in off Cruickshank’s shoulder – and that was Clyde back in the lead in 32 minutes.

Ragged and rattled, Hearts were rather flattered to go in at the interval only one down.

After Gilroy had headed narrowly over, Hearts equalised in the 47th minute. Mulheron pulled down Roald Jensen. The Norwegian took the free kick himself and his lob was headed into the net by Roy Barry.

One minute later Hearts went ahead for the first time, Jensen crossed the ball for Hamilton to head home.

Clyde had now lost much of their rhythm and at last Hearts took on the look of potential league champions. Certainly Cruickshank was not nearly so busy as he had been in the first half.

In the 68th minute Hearts made it 4-2 in their favour when Donald Ford crossed and the ball glanced off the heel of John McHugh. A lucky goal, but it seemed certain to keep Hearts at the top of the league.

In the last minute McHugh again hit the ball into his own net to make it 5-2 for Hearts.

Teams: Cruickshank, Ferguson, Holt, Polland, Anderson, Higgins, Jensen, Barry, Ford, Wallace, Hamilton

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Hearts 5, Clyde 2. March 27, 1965"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4402552.1490353310!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4402552.1490353310!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Johnny Hamilton playing for Hearts in 1965","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Johnny Hamilton playing for Hearts in 1965","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4402552.1490353310!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/hopes-high-as-eight-of-hearts-prepare-to-graduate-1-4402201","id":"1.4402201","articleHeadline": "Hopes high as eight of Hearts prepare to graduate","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490337029000 ,"articleLead": "

Eight Hearts youth academy players will graduate to full-time professional contracts this summer – the biggest single intake in club history.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4402200.1490301936!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts academy graduates, from left, Euan Henderson, Anthony McDonald, Connor Smith, Dean Ritchie, Christopher Hamilton and Jay Sandison. Harry Cochrane and Marc Leonard were absent from the photo shoot. Picture: Ian Georgeson"} ,"articleBody": "

The Evening News gained exclusive access to the signing session when the players in question – all currently playing for Hearts Under-17s – put pen to paper.

They will leave school in June and immediately begin full-time training as part of the Riccarton under-20 squad under coaches Jon Daly, Andy Kirk and Liam Fox.

Hearts have high hopes for all eight teenagers and believe they have the potential to progress to first-team level over the next three to four years.

Signing contracts are Euan Henderson (striker), Dean Ritchie (holding midfielder), Jay Sandison (full-back), Anthony McDonald (attacking midfielder), Chris Hamilton (centre-back/right-back), and Connor Smith (attacking midfielder).

Central midfielder Harry Cochrane and striker/midfielder Marc Leonard will also sign deals soon.

Roger Arnott, manager of the Riccarton youth academy, welcomed the historic moment as visible evidence of Hearts’ commitment to developing their own players.

“We’re very clear on where we’re trying to get to,” he said. “We’ve had to bring players in to fill gaps before so we’ve only taken two or three players on professional deals from the academy before this. By signing these eight players, we might bring in one from outside. That’s it.

“We think we’ll have another six or seven coming through next year, and after that Craig Levein [director of football] is encouraged by what he sees going down through the age groups. The plan is to have our home-grown academy players playing in our development team at under-20 level.

“That’s the route we’re trying to get to. The more good players we have in there, the better their chances of making it through to the first team. We’ve had to bring in players from abroad recently at first-team level but the manager will always look to the development team first to see who can play in the first team. That takes time.

“It will be two or three years, it might be four, before this group of players are ready to play in the first team. What this says to the fans is that the club is in a good place. We’re working very hard with young players.

“Some of these kids were here previously, some have come in since the club came out of administration in 2014. We’re trying to create a pathway where we don’t have lots of players, but the ones we do have get challenged and play in older age groups.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BARRY ANDERSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4402200.1490301936!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4402200.1490301936!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hearts academy graduates, from left, Euan Henderson, Anthony McDonald, Connor Smith, Dean Ritchie, Christopher Hamilton and Jay Sandison. Harry Cochrane and Marc Leonard were absent from the photo shoot. Picture: Ian Georgeson","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts academy graduates, from left, Euan Henderson, Anthony McDonald, Connor Smith, Dean Ritchie, Christopher Hamilton and Jay Sandison. Harry Cochrane and Marc Leonard were absent from the photo shoot. Picture: Ian Georgeson","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4402200.1490301936!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/hearts-prepare-quietly-for-premiership-climax-1-4402120","id":"1.4402120","articleHeadline": "Hearts prepare quietly for Premiership climax","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490337012000 ,"articleLead": "

Training at Riccarton this week has been vital to Hearts’ preparations for the final nine games of a very eventful season. Some players are missing due to international duty but Ian Cathro and his coaching staff still have the bulk of the first-team squad to work with.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4402119.1490292053!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ian Cathro will lead his Hearts team back into action against Celtic at Tynecastle on Sunday week"} ,"articleBody": "

Veteran centre-back Aaron Hughes has recovered from the calf injury which precluded him from his club’s last four matches. Ironically, he is one of the absentees having been given permission to join the Northern Ireland squad for Sunday’s World Cup qualifier against Norway.

Arnaud Djoum is also away with Cameroon, Andraz Struna is preparing to face Scotland with Slovenia, Alex Tziolis is with Greece, Faycal Rherras is in the Morocco squad and Liam Smith is with Scotland Under-21s. Goalkeeper Jack Hamilton received a late call-up to the Scotland squad yesterday following the withdrawal through injury of David Marshall. Hearts expect most of the above to be back in place by the middle of next week.

“A couple of things have slowed us down this week,” explained Cathro. “Krystian [Nowak] and Lennard [Sowah] are managing a couple of knocks but, given it’s this week, we expect both of them to be clear for full training next week. We don’t have any other concerns outside that.

“Aaron had been back training with us for a couple of days before the Aberdeen game on Saturday. Sometimes in that situation you jump straight in. Maybe he could’ve come through the game, maybe he couldn’t. It’s sometimes a decision about protecting the player.

“Aaron is going to be an important player for us. The way we’ve managed the last stage of his recovery guarantees him a little bit of time to do more training. I think he’ll be completely fine and completely ready for next week.”

Hearts are close to agreeing a one-year contract with Hughes, as revealed in yesterday’s Evening News. His leadership is considered crucial.

“Very much so, his influence will be vital in the majority of situations we’ll find ourselves in now,” added Cathro. “Aaron brings a calmness to people, helps things stay clear and supports people. He’s an important player to constantly have around everyone. He’s had a really positive impact.”

The rest of the campaign sees Hearts playing catch-up from a position of fifth in the Ladbrokes Premiership. They hope to claim a Europa League qualifying place come May and there fore Cathro needs his most experienced men available.

That doesn’t mean there is no role for younger members of the squad. Teenage striker Rory Currie recently signed a long-term contract to commit his future to Hearts until summer 2020. He continues to impress his superiors.

“Rory is a young player who, technically, is very comfortable in a lot of situations in games. He stays calm, he doesn’t get too stressed about things. That’s probably been the biggest thing which has helped him. He feels comfortable enough on the park to let some of this quality come out,” said Cathro.

Currie only arrived at Riccarton last summer after being released by Rangers. His impact has seen him elevated from the under-20 squad into the senior group, where he is more than holding his own.

“He’s a young boy who plays with a lot of energy and enthusiasm. He is a good quality finisher, which will develop and improve through time. He’s definitely someone we’re excited to work with and we’ll support him to help him grow as a footballer over the coming months and years.”

Even Cathro admits that the 19-year-old has made an impression greater than anyone expected in his seven senior appearances to date.

“I would say that’s pretty fair. The players who show me the things I want in the team will go in the team. For me, it’s that simple.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BARRY ANDERSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4402119.1490292053!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4402119.1490292053!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Ian Cathro will lead his Hearts team back into action against Celtic at Tynecastle on Sunday week","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ian Cathro will lead his Hearts team back into action against Celtic at Tynecastle on Sunday week","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4402119.1490292053!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/hearts-goalkeeper-jack-hamilton-added-to-scotland-squad-1-4402053","id":"1.4402053","articleHeadline": "Hearts goalkeeper Jack Hamilton added to Scotland squad","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490287833000 ,"articleLead": "

Hearts goalkeeper Jack Hamilton has been recalled to the Scotland squad as an injury-replacement for David Marshall.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4402052.1490287829!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jack Hamilton at Scotland's Renfrewshire training base on Thursday morning. Picture: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

Keep up to date with all our sport news on The Scotsman’s Sport page on Facebook

The 23-year-old will provide cover for veteran stoppers Allan McGregor and Craig Gordon for Sunday’s World Cup qualifier with Slovenia at Hampden.

Marshall was forced to withdraw through injury and Hamilton, who was originally left out of the 30-man squad, was brought into the Scotland training camp this morning.

The Jambos No.1 has yet to make his international debut at senior level but has previously been called up by national team boss Gordon Strachan.

READ MORE - Rumour Mill: Lovenkrands in frame for Rangers role | Strachan fired up Canada | Cummings leaves home

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "CRAIG FOWLER"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4402052.1490287829!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4402052.1490287829!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Jack Hamilton at Scotland's Renfrewshire training base on Thursday morning. Picture: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jack Hamilton at Scotland's Renfrewshire training base on Thursday morning. Picture: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4402052.1490287829!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/aaron-hughes-set-to-extend-contract-with-hearts-1-4401096","id":"1.4401096","articleHeadline": "Aaron Hughes set to extend contract with Hearts","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490250659000 ,"articleLead": "

Aaron Hughes is close to extending his Hearts contract by another 12 months, the Evening News can reveal.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4401095.1490216569!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Aaron Hughes is currently with the Northern Ireland squad"} ,"articleBody": "

Initial talks with the experienced Northern Ireland defender have been positive and he is keen to stay at Tynecastle next season.

Hughes signed a six-month deal upon joining Hearts in January with the aim of reviewing his future in the summer. He has settled quickly in Edinburgh and, at 37, is already an influential figure within the dressing-room.

He is now ready to commit his future to Hearts until summer 2018. The centre-back is on international duty this week ahead of Northern Ireland’s World Cup qualifier with Norway in Belfast on Sunday. He will then return to Hearts and go straight into vital league games against Celtic, St Johnstone, Dundee and Kilmarnock.

At some point over the next few weeks, he is expected to formally put pen to paper on a one-year contract extension. “We see the value in what Aaron brings to the group on a daily basis,” said head coach Ian Cathro. “We’re really pleased with him. I would be hopeful that we could look at doing something.”

Hughes hasn’t played in any of Hearts’ past four matches due to a niggling calf injury. However, he was an unused substitute against Aberdeen last weekend and headed off to join the Northern Ireland squad at the start of the week with no fitness concerns.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BARRY ANDERSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4401095.1490216569!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4401095.1490216569!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Aaron Hughes is currently with the Northern Ireland squad","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Aaron Hughes is currently with the Northern Ireland squad","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4401095.1490216569!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/gary-oliver-i-ve-come-on-a-ton-since-leaving-hearts-1-4400733","id":"1.4400733","articleHeadline": "Gary Oliver: I’ve come on a ton since leaving Hearts","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490250637000 ,"articleLead": "

Pushing Morton towards a fairytale promotion to the Ladbrokes Premiership leaves young Gary Oliver a little reluctant to speak out. He is understandably frightened that too much talk of top-flight ambitions will jinx what has hitherto been an incredible season in Inverclyde.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4400732.1490196542!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Gary Oliver has helped Morton get involved in the Championship title race this season and the former Hearts youngster feels he has developed as a player much more than playing in under-20 matches. Pic: Michael Gillen"} ,"articleBody": "

What he happily explains in detail is how he reached the cusp of a potentially historic achievement at Cappielow. Leaving Hearts two years ago injected his career with the fillip it needed. The 21-year-old believes he has improved tenfold as a player because he now enjoys regular first-team football every week, rather than the “kid-on” under-20 environment.

His words are no slur on Hearts specifically. Oliver remains grateful for his grounding within the Riccarton youth academy and the facilities available there. However, there comes a time in every young kid’s development when he must step into the man’s world to progress. Oliver reached that point two years ago and took the bold decision to join Queen of the South.

That and the subsequent move to Greenock to join his uncle, Jim Duffy, has been the making of him as a player.

“The best thing I did for my career was leave Hearts. I love Hearts, they’re a great club with great facilities. To push my career on I had to move club,” he told the Evening News in an exclusive interview. “I feel I’m ten times better a player now and I’ve learned so much. I’ve been enjoying playing first-team football every week. It’s just so much better.

“Any young boys who are hanging around clubs at 19 or 20, and aren’t playing regularly, I think they need to get out and play. Hearts is obviously a good club, it’s great to say, ‘I play for Hearts.’ Sometimes you need to drop down a level and it’s the best thing I’ve done.

“Under-20s is kid-on football compared to first-team. You can play under-20s all you like. I played at that level for three or four years and you just don’t learn much. You go into a first team and it’s a totally different ball game. People are fighting for win bonuses, three points, moves or whatever. I’m enjoying it so much.”

Not least because of the position Morton have muscled their way into. They are currently third in the Championship table, four points ahead of Dundee United and level with second-placed Falkirk on 48. Intriguingly, Oliver and his colleagues have two games in hand on Falkirk and one on league leaders Hibs, who are seven points better off. Morton have still to play the Easter Road club twice before the season ends.

A play-off place is all but guaranteed given fifth-placed Queen of the South are 13 points behind Morton. Naturally, thoughts of automatic promotion are beginning to creep in, and that’s when it gets edgy. Morton haven’t graced Scottish football’s top flight for almost three decades. “A few of the boys have been saying it. ‘Imagine we won the league.’ You can never tell because this season has been a fairytale so far with the number of games we’ve won. We might just be lucky enough to nick it,” said Oliver.

“Everything can change in a week, though, so we just need to secure the play-offs first. That’s the main thing. That would be an achievement for us. To win the league would be amazing. I couldn’t really explain that feeling.

“We’ve got two games in hand on Falkirk and Hibs are seven points in front of us. We’ve still to play Hibs twice. It’s been a strange season. If you told us at the start of the season we’d come this far, all the boys would have bitten the hand off you. We’ve been grinding out great results, a few one-nils and a few draws.

“It’s a young squad, everybody’s fit and we’re good athletes. We have a good manager who is helping us become better players. I think we’ve got all the ingredients. All the boys are close, which you’ve probably heard about.

“You don’t want to jinx it, though. I don’t think there’s much difference in standard between the teams in this league. Maybe Hibs are slightly better but they’re not miles away from everyone else. It’s not like we can’t beat them or can’t get a result there. We’ll give Hibs a hard game. We’ve got two games against them before the season ends.”

It is still too soon to get carried away, however difficult that is. “I think it’s a bit too early. There are nine games left so we just need to keep being consistent. That’s one thing we have been this year is really consistent and that’s brought us to the stage we’re at just now.

“I don’t want to say anything too soon in case I jinx it or things don’t go to plan.”

Urging Morton on is a healthy support base from Port Glasgow, through Greenock and Gourock and down the Inverclyde coast.

“At the start of the season we had a few bad results and I think the fans were a bit down at that time. They got behind us, though, and they’ve supported us really well,” said Oliver. “They took thousands of fans to Hampden for the League Cup semi-final against Aberdeen. That’s fantastic for a club of Greenock Morton’s size. The supporters have been great for me, I’ve had some nice messages from them, so I’m delighted with that.”

Imagine the messages if he slays Hibs twice before the season ends? Come to that, there would be a few congratulations from Tynecastle as well.

“I don’t really look at it that way. I’m just concentrating on Morton now,” said Oliver with utmost diplomacy. “I want to do as well as I can in every game, whether it’s against Hibs or whoever. I’ll play my game and work hard. I’ve got another year here because I signed a two-year deal at the start of the season.”

Might he spend the second year of that agreement with Morton in the Premiership? Stranger things have happened.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BARRY ANDERSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4400732.1490196542!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4400732.1490196542!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Gary Oliver has helped Morton get involved in the Championship title race this season and the former Hearts youngster feels he has developed as a player much more than playing in under-20 matches. Pic: Michael Gillen","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Gary Oliver has helped Morton get involved in the Championship title race this season and the former Hearts youngster feels he has developed as a player much more than playing in under-20 matches. Pic: Michael Gillen","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4400732.1490196542!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/our-region/edinburgh/oasis-mogul-alan-mcgee-talked-out-of-buying-hearts-1-4401034","id":"1.4401034","articleHeadline": "Oasis mogul Alan McGee ‘talked out’ of buying Hearts","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490213210000 ,"articleLead": "

Oasis mogul and Scottish record label owner Alan McGee was talked out of buying Hearts by Primal Scream frontman and Celtic fan Bobby Gillespie.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4401033.1490213206!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Alan McGee, founder of Creations Records."} ,"articleBody": "

The multi-millionaire entrepreneur, who helped launched 90s Britpop group Oasis, was revelling in the success of the Manchester band.

And Creation Records boss McGee, 56, from East Kilbride, had his heart set on his next investment – at Tynecastle.

In 1994, Wallace Mercer was looking to sell his shares in Hearts and, before Chris Robinson and Leslie Deans jumped at the opportunity, McGee considered buying the club.

But he told Radio X evening show presenter Gordon Smart that he was talked out of it by Glasgow band Primal Scream and its Celtic-supporting frontman Bobby Gillespie.

He said: “Oasis had just sold millions of records and I could have got the club for a few million.

“It was possible.

“But Primal Scream told me I couldn’t buy ‘the wee H***’ and that helped change my mind.”

Alan has also championed acts such as the Jesus and Mary Chain, Primal Scream, My Bloody Valentine and The Libertines.

But it was in 1994 that his biggest success, Oasis, released their record-setting debut album, Definitely Maybe, followed in 1995 by (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "FIONA PRINGLE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4401033.1490213206!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4401033.1490213206!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Alan McGee, founder of Creations Records.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Alan McGee, founder of Creations Records.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4401033.1490213206!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/hearts-defenders-have-to-become-ruthless-cathro-1-4399027","id":"1.4399027","articleHeadline": "Hearts defenders have to become ruthless – Cathro","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490164223000 ,"articleLead": "

Hearts are working to improve defensive organisation during the international break, with head coach Ian Cathro determined to take a more ruthless approach at the back.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4399026.1490110358!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ian Cathro wants Hearts to be 'clinical' in defence"} ,"articleBody": "

Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Aberdeen exposed defensive frailties again, particularly at Shay Logan’s header for the first goal. Cathro wants his back line to be more clinical in and around their own penalty area.

The Edinburgh club have slipped to fifth in the league and one of the areas needing attention this week is defence, as Cathro explained.

“One of the most important things is how clinical we are with our defensive work,” he told the Evening News today. “When we’re in and around our box and we have to clear the ball, we clear. We have to be close to each other for second balls. We have made progress in those situations but there are a lot of competitive games against a rival and there is tension in these games. Sometimes it’s who cracks first.

“It’s been really clear in protecting ourselves from mistakes that you keep yourself in a strong position. Ultimately, that’s probably been the main thing which resulted in Saturday’s outcome.”

Cathro and his coaching staff are working with individuals and with the defence as a unit this week to ensure they become a stronger barrier to opponents.

“There are individual and collective things, being ruthless in our defending, how we clear the ball and deal with second balls in and around our box. We have to be in the right positions to defend crosses,” he added.

“These are situations we’re going to face in this league and we need to make sure we’re focused on continuing to improve and deal with those things clinically.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BARRY ANDERSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4399026.1490110358!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4399026.1490110358!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Ian Cathro wants Hearts to be 'clinical' in defence","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ian Cathro wants Hearts to be 'clinical' in defence","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4399026.1490110358!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/hearts-keen-to-tie-andraz-struna-to-long-term-deal-1-4398118","id":"1.4398118","articleHeadline": "Hearts keen to tie Andraz Struna to long-term deal","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490077845000 ,"articleLead": "

Hearts want to sign right-back Andraz Struna on a long-term deal and install him as Callum Paterson’s permanent replacement.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4398117.1490034836!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Andraz Struna has impressed Hearts coach Ian Cathro"} ,"articleBody": "

The Slovenian internationalist has impressed since arriving in Scotland in January and Tynecastle officials hope he will now agree to a longer stay.

Paterson has confirmed his desire to leave Hearts later this year once he recovers from knee ligament damage. His contract expires at the end of the season but he won’t be persuaded to sign a new one and intends heading to England.

That news means head coach Ian Cathro and director of football Craig Levein must move swiftly to secure 27-year-old Struna. He holds 25 Slovenian international caps and is part of the squad which will face Scotland at Hampden in Sunday’s World Cup qualifier. Struna has played 11 times in maroon so far but his short-term contract finishes at the end of May. Several assured displays at right-back make him a player Hearts want to keep for next season.

“We’re in the process of having conversations with some of the players who are currently here until the end of the season,” said head coach Ian Cathro. “We’re starting to address those things just now. Andraz is a player we feel good about and we’ll be having conversations with him.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BARRY ANDERSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4398117.1490034836!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4398117.1490034836!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Andraz Struna has impressed Hearts coach Ian Cathro","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Andraz Struna has impressed Hearts coach Ian Cathro","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4398117.1490034836!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/tasos-avlonitis-says-sorry-to-hearts-1-4397922","id":"1.4397922","articleHeadline": "Tasos Avlonitis says sorry to Hearts","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490077836000 ,"articleLead": "

Tasos Avlonitis stood up and apologised to his Hearts team-mates inside the Pittodrie dressing room on Saturday.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4397921.1490020302!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A jubilant Jonny Hayes wheels away to celebrate after latching on to Tasos Avlonitis short backpass. Pic: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

His costly mistake allowed Aberdeen to score their second goal in a damaging 2-0 defeat for the Edinburgh club, and the Greek defender felt compelled to take responsibility at full-time.

The horror on his face is unmistakeable as he relives the moment for the benefit of the Evening News. Avlonitis’ short backpass allowed Jonny Hayes to dart in and round the visiting goalkeeper Jack Hamilton before rolling the ball into an empty net. Two goals behind with an hour gone, there was no way back for Hearts and Avlonitis knew it.

Colleagues consoled him on the field at the time and after the final whistle. Once everyone reached the dressing room, the dejected centre-back stood up to address the issue head on.

“I want to say that I take the biggest amount of responsibility for this loss,” he said. “I made the mistake for the second goal and, at that moment, everything was finished. It was very difficult for us to come back from 2-0 down.

“The pitch was not so good but that is no excuse. I thought the striker [Hayes] would come from the outside so I didn’t see that he would go to the goalkeeper.

“The pass also was not good. It’s the first time I made this mistake in my life and I feel strange. It’s not a good moment for me but, in my life, I have learned to go on even if you lose or make a mistake. This is football. We learn from our mistakes.

“All the players told me it wasn’t my fault we lost the game and things like this. I spoke in the dressing room and I told them what I have just told you. It is my responsibility. I felt I wanted to apologise and I wanted to tell them. I know that we lost 2-0 and it’s not only my fault but the biggest responsibility is on me. I think the players appreciated that. They hugged me and told me it’s not only my fault because we had chances and, if we score, it’s a different game. For the defenders, if we make one mistake, we pay for that.”

Hearts did create openings but precious few to speak of. Sam Nicholson’s early chance which arced over the Aberdeen crossbar would have given the match a rather different complexion had it been a yard lower.

As it was, Shay Logan was unmarked five yards from goal when he headed the opener, and Avlonitis then gifted Hayes the second. Not a good day all round for the Tynecastle defence.

“I think we had one or two good chances in the first half and maybe we could score. Then the game would be different,” said Avlonitis. “When we play away, it’s very important to take the chances. This happens, though. As I said, I have learned in my life that you have to go on.”

Most of the Hearts squad regroup at Riccarton this week to try and eradicate the inconsistency which has seen them win just five of their last 18 matches.

International fortnight permits more useful time on the training field for head coach Ian Cathro and his squad. It must be used wisely, for next up at Tynecastle on Sunday, April 2, are champions-elect Celtic.

“We have to work for the next two weeks during the international break and we have to improve on the small details. We have a difficult programme coming up because we play at home against Celtic next,” said Avlonitis.

“Because we play at home, we have to win. We just have to win, for us and for our fans.”

A 17-point gap between themselves in fifth place and Aberdeen in second is considered unacceptable at this point in the season. The Ladbrokes Premiership makes relatively grim reading for Gorgie regulars right now and the players are aware of the need to climb the table.

“We look at every game individually,” continued Avlonitis. “We have to beat Celtic for ourselves and our fans. We want to close the gap because we have more games to come.

“Our target is to go as high as we can in the table. If we go for a win in every game and look at it differently, we can adapt to the situation. Right now, the most important thing is to come back and start winning again.

“We train until Thursday this week and then we have some days off. Only the players who are on international duty will leave. The others will stay here in Edinburgh. We have to improve some things in our game.”

Beyond the remaining nine league games, Avlonitis must consider his long-term future. He was one of nine new recruits signed by Cathro during the January transfer window in an attempt to reinforce a fairly light squad.

Like many others, his short-term contract expires at the end of May. Talks between player and club have yet to take place regarding an extension so next season remains very much uncertain.

The 27-year-old is content in Edinburgh and sounds like he would consider a longer stay. Whether management staff intend to offer one over the coming weeks is unclear.

“I am happy here. I like the team, I like the fans and my team-mates have very good character,” stated the Greek. “I appreciated that, from the first moment, the players hugged all the new players who came in January. This is very important.

“I like it at Hearts but I don’t know about my future. I think it’s a little bit early to speak about this. Later we will speak for sure but I don’t know what will happen. We have still to talk about it.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BARRY ANDERSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4397921.1490020302!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4397921.1490020302!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "A jubilant Jonny Hayes wheels away to celebrate after latching on to Tasos Avlonitis short backpass. Pic: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A jubilant Jonny Hayes wheels away to celebrate after latching on to Tasos Avlonitis short backpass. Pic: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4397921.1490020302!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/hearts-reaction-unexplainable-inconsistency-irks-andraz-struna-1-4397207","id":"1.4397207","articleHeadline": "Hearts reaction: ‘Unexplainable’ inconsistency irks Andraz Struna","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1489991411000 ,"articleLead": "

Perhaps it would have been more concerning had Craig Levein not entered Pittodrie’s away dressing room at half-time on Saturday.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4397205.1489940883!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Aberdeen's Jonny Hayes takes the ball round Hearts keeper Jack Hamilton before doubling the lead. Pic: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

A disjointed Hearts team were 1-0 down against Aberdeen and looking bereft of belief and creativity. Any manager, or indeed director of football, would have been livid. Sitting in the main stand doing nothing would have been the real crime.

Levein’s passing of a note to the technical area via youth coach Jon Daly, followed by his interval intervention, caused much furore during Saturday’s defeat. It is fair to assume he didn’t head to the dressing room to sample the tea or Jaffa Cakes. He provides head coach Ian Cathro with support and insight, as do Daly and fellow coaches Austin MacPhee, Liam Fox and Andy Kirk. All of it at Cathro’s request, it should be noted.

Levein communicated with technical staff and spoke in the dressing room during Robbie Neilson’s tenure. What BT Sport’s cameras captured at the weekend was nothing new in that sense. It would make life easier on Cathro if the director of football was more discreet but his input was nonetheless a sideshow to another damaging result for Hearts.

Aberdeen’s victory should have been more comprehensive given their control and the number of scoring chances created. The defeat forced Hearts down to fifth in the Ladbrokes Premiership when St Johnstone won at Motherwell later in the day.

They sat second at the start of December, so what has gone wrong? Levein is attempting to address the issue, as is Cathro, but the players seem unable to explain the inconsistency. They have won just five of 18 matches in all competitions since beating Rangers 2-0 at Tynecastle on November 30.

“You know as much as me. I don’t have an answer on this,” admitted the Edinburgh club’s Slovenian defender, Andraz Struna. “I don’t think about being second or third or whatever. I just analyse our matches and how we play. Of course, since New Year, we didn’t get good results and we dropped. Aberdeen are constant from week to week. They collect points and they deserve to be in second place now.

“This question is every week the same. What can I tell you? Of course we spoke between ourselves and we try to do things better. The reasons now, I will not speak about this. We are just trying to fix things. Sooner or later, our qualities will show. The most important thing as we still have faith and we will not give up. We have hope and we trust each other. We work hard from week to week in training.”

The previous week’s 4-0 destruction of Hamilton offered hope but, after Sam Nicholson wasted an early scoring chance, Hearts never looked like following it up. The Aberdeen full-back Shay Logan charged forward untracked to head Niall McGinn’s left-sided cross home on 21 minutes. It took until the hour mark for the hosts to affirm their superiority when Hearts centre-back Tasos Avlonitis’ weak back pass gifted Jonny Hayes the second goal.

A late red card for substitute Jayden Stockley for striking Krystian Nowak during a chase for the ball took only minimal gloss over the hosts’ performance. “We are disappointed about how the game went,” admitted Struna. “I don’t think Aberdeen are better than Rangers. Maybe they have more points and because of this you can say they are better. From what I see, Rangers can play good, maybe better, on the field.

“Aberdeen know what they do. They know their strengths. They play simple and with this the plan is good for them. We started well, we won a lot of tackles and second balls. We created one good chance, we didn’t score, and after Aberdeen scored from one good chance. We know how they play, it was a hard game. In the second half, we tried to at least score one goal for a draw but from our mistake they scored again.”

Cathro attempted to explain Levein’s influence to satisfy the questions it raised. He stressed he wants information from an onlooker in the stand and welcomes the support of the former Hearts and Scotland manager, as well as others. “First of all, one of the positive things about the work with the club and the work with the staff is there are a lot of people engaged. We have good staff, we have good coaches and I involve them in our work during the week. I am someone who wants to train with a lot of coaches,” he said.

“We have good staff with the under-20s in Jon Daly, Andy Kirk and Liam Fox, who recently joined us. We work together. I have always worked in a situation where we have one member of our technical staff in the stand who understands the game plan and the work we have done and so on. So that person has the responsibility to me to keep the dialogue active on certain things I have asked them to look at. That’s completely normal.

“I know there’s a historical aspect to this that turns it into a story for you now and then. But, trust me, it’s completely normal. It would be remiss not to rely on the experience of everyone that’s involved in the situation. It’s one of the positive things that we work collectively.

“Now, I can’t discuss too many positive things right now but, if we’re talking generally about this to try and stop some sort of directed hysteria, it’s entirely normal that we work together. More specifically, a coach sits in the stand which we vary through my decision. They work for me. They are doing things asked of them by me, for me.”

On Levein’s appearance in the dressing room, Cathro added: “There’s no space. With the schematics of Pittodrie, there’s no space to do many things. You see a different person sitting behind this desk but trust me – if you were in my changing room, you wouldn’t be opening your mouth.”

Aberdeen continue to go from strength to strength under Derek McInnes and are now 17 points better off than Hearts, sitting second in the table. This was their ninth successive win in all competitions – a record not present in the Pittodrie annals since the days of Sir Alex Ferguson.

“On a difficult surface some of the play was excellent and 2-0 was a pleasing result. It could have been more,” said McInnes. “The honesty is screaming out of this team. They are relentless. There could be more quality at times and we’ll strive for that perfect performance but I could not ask for more physically. They are a credit to themselves and give me and the club everything every week.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BARRY ANDERSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4397205.1489940883!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4397205.1489940883!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Aberdeen's Jonny Hayes takes the ball round Hearts keeper Jack Hamilton before doubling the lead. Pic: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Aberdeen's Jonny Hayes takes the ball round Hearts keeper Jack Hamilton before doubling the lead. Pic: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4397205.1489940883!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4397206.1489940884!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4397206.1489940884!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hearts coach Jon Daly and Director of Football Craig Levein. Pic: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts coach Jon Daly and Director of Football Craig Levein. Pic: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4397206.1489940884!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/ian-cathro-hearts-will-work-hard-to-bridge-gap-with-aberdeen-1-4397200","id":"1.4397200","articleHeadline": "Ian Cathro: Hearts will work hard to bridge gap with Aberdeen","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1489991401000 ,"articleLead": "

Ian Cathro admits he needs time to revamp Hearts to ensure the current 17-point gap between the Edinburgh club and Aberdeen is never repeated.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4397199.1489939566!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts head coach Ian Cathro and assistant Austin MacPhee at Pittodrie"} ,"articleBody": "

The head coach conceded following Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Pittodrie that Hearts must strive to reach Aberdeen’s level. He intends to bridge the chasm, however it will not be a quick project.

Defeat in the north east saw Hearts slip to fifth in the Ladbrokes Premiership table, 17 points adrift of second-placed Aberdeen.

Cathro plans to reshape his squad during the summer and pledged that, next season, Hearts will be better placed to compete near the top of the Ladbrokes Premiership.

“At this moment, we have to accept Aberdeen are a strong group with an organised way of playing. They have been in a routine for a number of seasons now. As it stands, they’re above us,” the head coach told the Evening News.

“Our job is to improve ourselves, with the clear objective of getting to that level and then surpassing it. We will do that our own way but we do it by improving week after week after week.

“We will look at every aspect of our work to be sure that such a gap never exists again. It will take time. There are a lot of things we need to focus on to make sure we are pushing hard and fighting for every single point.

“We will improve ourselves throughout the rest of this season. When we look to the new season, we will be in a much stronger position to be able to fight at the level we should be.

“We will improve the squad through work, through time together and from living through these difficult experiences together – the things we need to address and fix. We will improve through all of this.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BARRY ANDERSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4397199.1489939566!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4397199.1489939566!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hearts head coach Ian Cathro and assistant Austin MacPhee at Pittodrie","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts head coach Ian Cathro and assistant Austin MacPhee at Pittodrie","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4397199.1489939566!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/hearts-coach-ian-cathro-welcomes-dof-craig-levein-s-influence-1-4396981","id":"1.4396981","articleHeadline": "Hearts coach Ian Cathro welcomes DoF Craig Levein's influence","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1489878361484 ,"articleLead": "

Ian Cathro has offered an explanation of Craig Levein's influence at Hearts, stressing he wants input from the director of football during matches.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4396980.1489878542!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Craig Levein's influence at Hearts has been welcomed by head coach Ian Cathro"} ,"articleBody": "

Television footage captured Levein passing a note from the main stand to the technical area via youth coach Jon Daly during the first half of Saturday's 2-0 defeat by Aberdeen at Pittodrie. Levein then entered the Hearts dressing room during half-time.

The former Hearts and Scotland manager did likewise on several occasions during Robbie Neilson's time as head coach at Tynecastle, but Cathro attempted to explain the structure to satisfy questions raised. He stressed he wants information from an onlooker in the stand and welcomes support from the director of football and other coaching staff.

\"First of all, one of the positive things about the work with the club and the work with the staff is there are a lot of people engaged. We have good staff, we have good coaches and I involve them in our work during the week. I am someone who wants to train with a lot of coaches,\" said the 30-year-old.

\"We have good staff with the under-20s in Jon Daly, Andy Kirk and Liam Fox, who recently joined us. We work together. I have always worked in a situation where we have one member of our technical staff in the stand, who understands the gameplan and the work we have done and so on. So that person has the responsibility to me to keep the dialogue active on certain things I have asked them to look at. That’s completely normal.

\"I know there’s a historical aspect to this that turns it into a story for you now and then. But, trust me, it’s completely normal. It would be remiss not to rely on the experience of everyone that’s involved in the situation. It’s one of the positive things that we work collectively.

\"Now, I can’t discuss too many positive things right now but, if we're talking generally about this to try and stop some sort of directed hysteria, it’s entirely normal that we work together. More specifically, a coach sits in the stand which we vary through my decision. They work for me. They are doing things asked of them by me, for me.\"

On Levein's appearance in the dressing room, Cathro added: \"There’s no space. With the schematics of Pittodrie, there’s no space to do many things. You see a different person sitting behind this desk but trust me - if you were in my changing room, you wouldn’t be opening your mouth.\"

" ,"byline": {"email": "barry.anderson@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Barry Anderson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4396980.1489878542!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4396980.1489878542!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Craig Levein's influence at Hearts has been welcomed by head coach Ian Cathro","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Craig Levein's influence at Hearts has been welcomed by head coach Ian Cathro","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4396980.1489878542!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/aberdeen-2-0-hearts-dons-too-strong-for-weak-hearts-1-4396617","id":"1.4396617","articleHeadline": "Aberdeen 2-0 Hearts: Dons too strong for weak Hearts","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1489846284420 ,"articleLead": "Aberdeen put Hearts to the sword at Pittodrie to prevent Celtic winning the Ladbrokes Premiership early. Shay Logan's first-half header and Jonny Hayes' strike after the break ensured a comprehensive victory for Derek McInnes' side - who had substitute Jayden Stockley sent off late on.","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4396616.1489846378!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Craig Levein and Jon Daly in conversation during Aberdeen's win against Hearts."} ,"articleBody": "

A Hearts win in front of the BT Sport cameras would have given the Glasgow club an opportunity to clinch the league by beating Dundee tomorrow. However, from the outset Aberdeen looked sharper and more cohesive in attack and could easily have scored more.
Logan headed home Niall McGinn's cross unmarked, and Hayes was presented with the second goal after a scuffed backpass by Tasos Avlonitis. It was a difficult afternoon for Hearts, who didn't produce the kind of display hoped for following last week's 4-0 destruction of Hamilton.
Sam Nicholson's early run and shot tested Joe Lewis in the Aberdeen goal. Then, after a period of Aberdeen pressure, Nicholson sent another effort curling over the crossbar in the 15th minute when he ought to have scored. Hearts were to rue that chance when the hosts moved ahead on six minutes later.
Persistently poor forward distribution from defence by Hearts was allowing Aberdeen to regain possession time and time again. It was a matter of when, not if, they capitalised. From Niall McGinn's left-sided cross, Logan charged in towards the six-yard box unmarked to head comfortably into the net without a challenge.
Aberdeen proceeded to dominate the remainder of the first period. McGinn, Kenny McLean and Hayes all caused problems running directly at the visiting defence. When Hearts did manage to move towards the opposite end, they suffered from striker Esmael Goncalves being too isolated.
Television footage showed the Tynecastle director of football Craig Levein in deep conversation with his youth coach, Jon Daly, in the main stand during the first half. Daly then headed down to the visitors' technical area to pass on information and Levein went into the Hearts dressing room during the interval.
He would undoubtedly have been dissatisfied by the team's first-half performance, as would head coach Ian Cathro. Improvement was vital if Hearts were to take anything from this encounter but they continued ceding possession inside their own half of the field.
An offside flag denied Adam Rooney Aberdeen's second goal shortly after the restart. McLean then hit a rasping drive which soared narrowly over Hamilton's crossbar. Most inside Pittodrie would have sensed another goal coming and Hearts handed it on a plate to Hayes on the hour mark.
Avlonitis' backpass was woefully short and the alert Hayes darted in to round Hamilton and slot into an empty net. That effectively ended the match as a contest, with McLean close to adding a third from 25 yards minutes later. Hayes then stung Hamilton's palms with a thunderous left-footed effort.
Lewis had barely been exposed at the other end but did react quickly to smother an attempt from Goncalves inside the last 15 minutes. A third goal wouldn't have flattered the home side but, despite attempts by McGinn and Ash Taylor, they had to settle for two.
The one negative for McInnes was the late sending off of Stockley. He and Nowak ran for a loose ball and the striker turned to swing his arm at the Pole. Referee Steven McLean had little choice but to produce a straight red card for violent conduct. A shoving match ensued involving players from both sides, making for a tetchy end to the afternoon.

Aberdeen (4-2-3-1): Lewis; Logan, Taylor, O'Connor, Considine; Jack, Shinnie; McGinn, McLean, Hayes; Rooney.
Subs
76: Stockley for Rooney
83: Christie for Hayes
87: Ross for McGinn
Unused subs: Alexander, Pawlett, Wright, Storey
Hearts (4-4-2): Hamilton; Struna, Nowak, Avlonitis, Sowah; Cowie, Tziolis, Djoum; Nicholson, Goncalves, Walker.
Subs
65: Johnsen for Djoum
75: Kitchen for Tziolis
87: Martin for Walker
Unused subs: Noring, Rherras, Hughes, Choulay.
Referee: Steven McLean.
Attendance: 12,178.

" ,"byline": {"email": "barry.anderson@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Barry Anderson at Pittodrie"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4396616.1489846378!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4396616.1489846378!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Craig Levein and Jon Daly in conversation during Aberdeen's win against Hearts.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Craig Levein and Jon Daly in conversation during Aberdeen's win against Hearts.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4396616.1489846378!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/maroon-memories-hearts-paint-it-black-in-derby-1-4393960","id":"1.4393960","articleHeadline": "Maroon Memories: Hearts paint it Black in derby","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1489818600000 ,"articleLead": "

HEARTS experienced their fair share of ups and downs both on and off the pitch this season, but one aspect of life at the club remained constant: their ability to get the better of their Edinburgh rivals.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4393958.1489677709!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "18/03/11 CLYDESDALE BANK PREMIER LEAGUEHEARTS v HIBERNIAN (2-0)TYNECASTLE - EDINBURGHHearts' Craig Beattie (right) celebrates his goal with team mate Rudi Skacel."} ,"articleBody": "

Six of Pat Fenlon’s players were making their derby debuts. James McPake provided some solidity at centre-back, and Pa Kujabi had a useful outing at left-back, but collectively this new-look team were only a little better than the one they replaced. Jorge Claros, for instance, had shoen touches of undoubted pedigree, but the man whose nickname is Pitbull was more like a Pekinese in this game, being outclassed by Ian Black.

The Hearts midfielder was the dominant figure at New Year and was again a critical influence here, taking charge of midfield despite the absence through injury of his usual anchorman, Adrian Mrowiec. Without the Pole, Hearts had an unbalanced look in the middle, with Rudi Skacel, Mehdi Taouil and Andrew Driver making up the quartet. But, while those three were among the home team’s less significant performers, Black was still able to run the show.

Craig Beattie and Black combined for the first goal, which came at the end of a half-hour during which Hearts had steadily imposed their superiority on their opponents. When Hibs lost possession from their own throw-in on the left, Black cleverly made space for himself by breaking free of Claros, and resisted the temptation of a short pass inside where several team-mates were in support.

Instead, spying Beattie’s run, he sent an excellent crossfield ball into the path of the striker, who had gone the wrong side of Matthew Doherty. Beattie cushioned the ball expertly with his first touch, and, from around 12 yards out, rolled it past Graham Stack with his second.

The lead was no more than Hearts had deserved as Andy Webster and Danny Grainger had both had efforts saved.

A couple of accidental clashes, one before and one after that goal, had forced both teams into changes. Skacel and George Francomb both needed treatment after their heads knocked together in the air, and although the Czech was able to play on, the Hibs full-back was soon replaced by Doherty.

Then, just before half-time, Stephen Elliott ran into Stack and was forced off with a hip knock a couple of minutes before the break.

It forced Hearts to change their shape, with Scott Robinson coming off the bench into midfield and Skacel adopting a supporting role just behind Beattie. Ryan McGowan came on for Black but it was the final change of the day which made the most impact. The 90 minutes were at an end when Suso Santana came on, and three minutes of the four added on had been played when he ran on to a ball out on the left. The predictable thing to do would have been to drift wide and run the clock down, but instead the little Spaniard beetled into the box, evaded a couple of would-be tacklers, and coolly netted with Stack helpless. For the home support it made for a delirious end to the game. For the away fans, who were present in far fewer numbers than usual, it was just another reminder, as if any more were needed, of Hearts’ superiority this season.

Hearts: MacDonald, Hamill, Grainger, Webster, Black, Barr, Taouil, Skacel, Beattie, Elliott, Driver.

Hibs: Stack, Francomb, Kujabi, McPake, Claros, Hanlon, Wotherspoon, Stevenson, O’Donovan, Griffiths, Soares.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Hearts 2, Hibs 0. March 18, 2012"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4393958.1489677709!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4393958.1489677709!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "18/03/11 CLYDESDALE BANK PREMIER LEAGUEHEARTS v HIBERNIAN (2-0)TYNECASTLE - EDINBURGHHearts' Craig Beattie (right) celebrates his goal with team mate Rudi Skacel.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "18/03/11 CLYDESDALE BANK PREMIER LEAGUEHEARTS v HIBERNIAN (2-0)TYNECASTLE - EDINBURGHHearts' Craig Beattie (right) celebrates his goal with team mate Rudi Skacel.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4393958.1489677709!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4393959.1489677711!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4393959.1489677711!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Ian Black","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ian Black","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4393959.1489677711!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/scottish-core-is-vital-to-future-of-hearts-1-4396400","id":"1.4396400","articleHeadline": "Scottish core is vital to future of Hearts","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1489818600000 ,"articleLead": "

Ian Cathro is adamant Hearts will never lose their Scottish identity after securing three native youngsters on long-term contracts.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4396399.1489775735!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "17/03/17 HEARTS TRAINING ORIAM - EDINBURGH Hearts' Jack Hamilton"} ,"articleBody": "

Goalkeeper Jack Hamilton, defender John Souttar and striker Rory Currie have committed their futures to the Edinburgh club until 2020, with Cathro insisting a Scottish core will always be a priority at Tynecastle.

Development from within remains a key part of Hearts’ agenda despite the arrival of nine non-Scots during the January transfer window.

“It’s essential and it always will be, there should be no sense of misinterpretation or confusion about that,” explained Cathro.

“One of the things we spoke about as we were building into the January window was it’s a complicated market. That’s also one of the reasons we never set out specifically to bring in X number of players. We wanted to manage the market, assess it and try to make improvements.

“I would continue to say that I feel we did make improvements and that it was positive for the squad, the balance and our options and so on.

“But the focus on this club developing primarily its own young players and making sure they have the support and the opportunity to become first- team players and have countless appearances and big moments as well, is always of the utmost importance.

“Second to that is young Scottish players who maybe come from different places but know the history of this club, this league and all the little idiosyncracies of this league and life here. I don’t undervalue that at all.

“We’ve got really good news coming up. I don’t know if it’s the most ever, but there are eight young players joining from the academy to go full-time. There’s a dinner next week where we will mark that.

“It’s quite a significant intake of talent that genuinely deserves it, which is another exciting thing looking further down the line. It’s something that we will look to manage.

“We will plan how our squad develops over time, knowing that we’ve got this talent that we want to develop underneath. It takes time. Sometimes nobody knows about these things, but it is important that it is spoken about. We are working on making sure that the correct blend is here for the club so that the support feel connected.”

Of the most recent clutch of Riccarton academy graduates, Callum Paterson and Sam Nicholson are likely to leave later this year after rejecting new contracts. The lack of immediate replacements from the youth ranks is down to neglect by the previous Tynecastle board under Vladimir Romanov and the subsequent administration forced upon Hearts.

“Yes, they were explaining that to me,” said Cathro. “It was because of the financial situation in previous years, investing in the academy, maybe losing some players because there was uncertainty at the club. That causes a lot of problems.

“You can understand that the families of young players breaking through were seeing daily news reports of whether this club was stable or unstable. You can understand why there is that hit there but I think now everybody sees that this is a perfect place for a young player to become a footballer.”

Development fees for Paterson and Nicholson would be between £350,000 and £450,000 once they join a new club. Hearts would then reinvest some of that cash in the kids at Riccarton.

“One of the things that this club has done significantly in the past few years is invest in the academy,” said Cathro. “A lot of that comes from the biggest chunks of revenue that come in, which are often when a player has made that progress and moves on. There are a number of areas across the club that are being invested heavily in.

“The academy has always been taken care of, looked after and supported.”

Currie outlined his satisfaction at joining Hearts having been released by Rangers last summer. He has made the breakthrough into senior football and scored his first goal, all because of the faith placed in him.

“Hearts have given me a great opportunity and they believed in me. That’s been the changing point in my career,” said the teenager. “The club looks to bring young players through and develop them. It shows they’re trying to bring through talented boys from this country.

“I’m delighted to sign a new deal. Hopefully the hard work keeps going and I can have a bright future here at Hearts.

“I’ve learned quite a lot coming up from the under-20s. It’s a lot more sharp and you need to be switched on and focused at all times. When you’re coming off the bench you’re hoping to make an impact.

“Obviously the manager expects an impact. He puts me on and he believes in me. He expects me to go on and change the game. It’s a big step. Physicality is one thing, that’s something you can work on. As soon as you step up, if you’re not focused, you’re going to make life hard for yourself.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BARRY ANDERSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4396399.1489775735!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4396399.1489775735!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "17/03/17 HEARTS TRAINING ORIAM - EDINBURGH Hearts' Jack Hamilton","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "17/03/17 HEARTS TRAINING ORIAM - EDINBURGH Hearts' Jack Hamilton","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4396399.1489775735!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/prmotion-the-goal-for-hearts-women-1-4396492","id":"1.4396492","articleHeadline": "Prmotion the goal for Hearts women","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1489818600000 ,"articleLead": "

Hearts Women’s football boss Andy Enwood says he will give youth every opportunity to try and help the club secure promotion this season.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4384675.1490009782!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "editorial image"} ,"articleBody": "

The Jambos, who play in SWPL 2, narrowly missed out on the championship title last season to Hamilton Accies but got this season’s campaign off to a winning start last Sunday with a 3-1 victory over Buchan Ladies – 15-year-old Holly Aitchison scoring the second goal of the afternoon. Brogan Anderson and Ashley Carse were also on target for Enwood’s side.

Ahead of Hearts trip to East Fife tomorrow, Enwood said: “I’ve promoted a few youngsters into the first team as we’ve got some really good players coming through at the club. We’ve had goals out of them already so I’m of the opinion that if they are good enough they’re old enough. Holly scored last week and we also had Jen Smith scoring against Hamilton in the League Cup a few weeks ago so that has been really pleasing.

“Promotion is our aim this year but there’s no feeling that it’s going to happen this time around just because we came so close last season. We’ll have to work hard so there’s just a few wee tweaks here and there.

“I haven’t come across East Fife as a coach personally but they’ve just been promoted into our league so it will be a good test.”

Elsewhere in SWPL 2, Edinburgh University Hutchison Vale visit Buchan seeking their first win having gone down 2-1 to Glasgow Girls last weekend and, in SWPL 1, Hibs Ladies host Aberdeen at Ainslie Park whilst Spartans are at Hamilton.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "NEIL MCGLADE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4384675.1490009782!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4384675.1490009782!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "editorial image","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "editorial image","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4384675.1490009782!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/callum-paterson-won-t-sign-new-hearts-contract-1-4396414","id":"1.4396414","articleHeadline": "Callum Paterson won’t sign new Hearts contract","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1489789740000 ,"articleLead": "

Callum Paterson will not sign a new contract at Hearts after reiterating his desire to continue his career elsewhere.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4396413.1489786626!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Callum Paterson is hoping to move to an English club once he recovers from injury"} ,"articleBody": "

The Scotland defender has told head coach Ian Cathro he won’t extend his deal, which expires at the end of the season.

Paterson is currently recovering from cruciate and medial ligament damage to his left knee and won’t be fit until September.

Hearts will allow him to finish his rehabilitation at Riccarton even after his contract ends.

They had hoped to persuade the 22-year-old to sign an extension rather than risk trying to find a new club whilst recovering from a nine-month injury absence.

However, Paterson has rejected the chance to stay in Edinburgh and intends to take a chance on impressing clubs in England.

Hearts will be due between £400,000 and £450,000 in training compensation once he joins a new team.

Jack Hamilton, John Souttar and Rory Currie all signed new contracts until 2020 at Tynecastle yesterday. Asked if Paterson would follow suit, Cathro admitted defeat.

“I think that’s an unlikely situation,” he said. “Callum has been very honest in his dialogue with the club, even a long time before I became involved.

“It probably is the point – and I respect his view on that – for him to take the next step in his career. We have suffered the [injury] situation we have suffered. It’s a horrible situation for him.

“It was a moment where, most likely, the offer was going to be there for him to move and take that next challenge in his career. That’s what he wants to do. I respect that.

“It’s been an honest dialogue throughout. These are situations that we need to just manage almost day-to-day.”

Hearts will ensure Paterson is fully fit before he goes as a thankyou for his efforts since breaking into the first team five years ago. “The first thing that we need to do is support his recovery and make sure that it’s right, make sure that the rehab’s right,” continued Cathro.

“He will be a Hearts player until the point where he has fully recovered. Also, there is a massive respect to Callum for the impact and influence that he has had on the team over a period of time.

“He cares a lot about the people here and to a massive degree for this club. There’s nothing but understanding and respect from both sides. He’s a guy I have a hell of a lot of time for and will support and speak to. We will just manage the situation as best we can.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BARRY ANDERSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4396413.1489786626!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4396413.1489786626!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Callum Paterson is hoping to move to an English club once he recovers from injury","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Callum Paterson is hoping to move to an English club once he recovers from injury","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4396413.1489786626!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/hearts-sign-up-hamilton-souttar-and-currie-until-2020-1-4395908","id":"1.4395908","articleHeadline": "Hearts sign up Hamilton, Souttar and Currie until 2020","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1489751409000 ,"articleLead": "

Hearts have agreed new long-term contracts with goalkeeper Jack Hamilton, defender John Souttar and striker Rory Currie.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4395907.1489751642!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ian Cathro is delighted to see Jack Hamilton, John Souttar and Rory Currie commit their futures to Hearts."} ,"articleBody": "

The triumvirate have pledged their futures to the Edinburgh club until summer 2020, ensuring that three of the most promising young players are kept at Tynecastle.

Head coach Ian Cathro explained that the new deals highlight Hearts' commitment to developing youngsters at first-team level.

\"We're all delighted that Jack, John and Rory have decided to pledge their futures to this club,\" Cathro told the Hearts website. \"This is positive news for the club and shows that this club continues doing what it has always done, in committing to and excelling in the development of young Scottish players.

\"These are three players who are at different stages of their development but have all had a positive impact at first-team level. Our priority is to always work to improve the squad, we will work collectively across all number of markets to try and do this.

\"However, as this club has shown many times before, its commitment to and focus on the development of its own players - and of young Scottish players - will always be of the greatest importance.\"

" ,"byline": {"email": "barry.anderson@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Barry Anderson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4395907.1489751642!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4395907.1489751642!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Ian Cathro is delighted to see Jack Hamilton, John Souttar and Rory Currie commit their futures to Hearts.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ian Cathro is delighted to see Jack Hamilton, John Souttar and Rory Currie commit their futures to Hearts.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4395907.1489751642!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/jamie-walker-targets-20-goals-for-hearts-this-season-1-4393920","id":"1.4393920","articleHeadline": "Jamie Walker targets 20 goals for Hearts this season","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1489732222000 ,"articleLead": "

A RATIO of one goal in every two matches sees Jamie Walker enter the season’s business end as the Ladbrokes Premiership’s top-scoring Scotsman. He has 15 goals in all competitions but is far from finished there.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4393919.1489676652!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jamie Walker has netted 15 times across all competitions this season and will be out to add to that tally when Hearts travel north to Aberdeen tomorrow. Pic: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

The Hearts winger intends to reach the 20 mark and prove conclusively that he is the outstanding Scottish player in the country.

International recognition is secondary for now after he was curiously overlooked for the latest Scotland squad. Walker is instead focusing on Hearts’ ten remaining league fixtures with the aim of scoring at least another five times.

Games like tomorrow’s trip to Pittodrie to face Aberdeen are the kind he thrives on, with BT Sport’s cameras broadcasting the match live. The big occasion appeals to him and he tends to deliver on the grandest stage more often than not. If he can complete the campaign with a tally of 20 goals or more, it would be a significant tonic to Hearts’ European aspirations. It would also mark him out as arguably Scotland’s most gifted native footballer.

“I’m loving it here. I’ve still got next year here on my contract,” he said in an exclusive Evening News interview. “It’s probably my first full season playing without being injured so I’m delighted with that. I’m playing well, scoring goals and looking forward to every game.

“I’m just delighted to be the top scorer from midfield. If I get five more goals I’d have 20 for the season, which isn’t a bad return from midfield. That’s my target just now and if I get more than that I’d be delighted.”

More than half of Walker’s goals have come in the last three months under new head coach Ian Cathro. The player feels he is progressing rapidly with the Dundonian’s influence.

“Since the gaffer came in, I’ve improved a lot,” he continued. “I’ve scored eight goals since he took over. He works with me every day to get me doing stuff off the ball and working on that side of my game. I’m enjoying working with him.”

Although only 23, Walker is regarded as a senior player inside the Riccarton dressing room. He is approaching the end of his fifth full season as a first-team regular and carries a fair degree of experience. He has captained the club on occasions and is happy to accept the responsibility of being an on-field leader.

After Cathro recruited nine non-Scottish players during January, Walker and others like Sam Nicholson and Jack Hamilton have been keen to emphasise what is expected of anyone who dons a maroon shirt at Tynecastle.

“I do feel more responsibility,” said the winger. “Over the course of the season, I’ve been the one the boys have looked to for a goal or to create something out of the ordinary. I’ve taken more pressure on my shoulders and I’m enjoying it. It’s something I thrive on. I’ve scored 15 goals this season so I just want to keep going. I think this has been my best season. I’ve scored a couple of goals against Rangers and I’ve scored against Celtic. You get judged on the big games.”

They don’t come much bigger than Aberdeen away. Particularly when the Dons are flying high in second place in the Premiership with an eight-point advantage over third-placed Rangers.

Hearts travel north in relative confidence after a comprehensive 4-0 home win against Hamilton last week. That ended a five-game run without a win for the Edinburgh club.

“We were playing Hamilton but it was still a massive win. Ross County weren’t in great form coming to Tynecastle in the previous game and they managed to turn us over. Last Saturday was a big result,” stressed Walker.

“It was tough before that because for the last few years we’ve won the majority of games. We hadn’t lost many on the bounce so it was hard to take. It’s part of being a footballer. You have to keep your head up, keep working hard and hope that the results turn.

“It was only Hamilton we played at the weekend but we need to go out and prove we can play against Aberdeen, Celtic and St Johnstone as well in the next three matches.

“These are the ones you look forward to, the ones you want to play in. Sometimes they’re not all football matches. You saw that against Hibs recently. Games like that can be a battle and you need to win the battle first, which isn’t my strong point. You need to do it in matches like that, though.”

If a Europa League qualifying place is to become reality for the second successive year, finishing in the Premiership’s top three is imperative. Hearts came third behind Celtic and Aberdeen last year, but are presently fourth and six points behind Rangers ahead of this weekend’s fixtures.

Walker knows firmly what is required over the next three games against Aberdeen, Celtic and St Johnstone.

“When you play for Hearts, there are big expectations. We finished third last year so the fans are expecting that again,” he said. “Football doesn’t work like that. Look at Leicester. They won the English Premier League last year and now they’re struggling massively in that division. They’ve also qualified for the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

“If there’s any chance of us catching Rangers for third spot, we need to pick up points in the next three games. That’ll be tough but we’re going up to Aberdeen looking to win.”

Most people would accept that second place looks beyond Hearts now, but no-one at Riccarton is of a mind to concede anything at this point. If we go on a wee run we might be able to get second but, as it stands, we’re fourth in the league and we’re looking at the place above us. That’s the aim for us and we’ll give 100 per cent to get there.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BARRY ANDERSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4393919.1489676652!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4393919.1489676652!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Jamie Walker has netted 15 times across all competitions this season and will be out to add to that tally when Hearts travel north to Aberdeen tomorrow. Pic: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jamie Walker has netted 15 times across all competitions this season and will be out to add to that tally when Hearts travel north to Aberdeen tomorrow. Pic: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4393919.1489676652!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/hearts-jamie-walker-will-use-scotland-snub-as-motivation-1-4394187","id":"1.4394187","articleHeadline": "Hearts’ Jamie Walker will use Scotland snub as motivation","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1489732200000 ,"articleLead": "

Jamie Walker today revealed his disappointment at being overlooked for the Scotland squad after the finest season of his Hearts career to date.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4392204.1489531123!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jamie Walker has netted 15 times from midfield for Hearts this season. Picture: Ian Georgeson"} ,"articleBody": "

The winger resolved to use the international snub as motivation to prove he deserves a full cap after scoring 15 goals in 30 domestic games for Hearts this term.

National coach Gordon Strachan named a 30-man pool for the upcoming friendly with Canada and the vital World Cup qualifier against Slovenia. Walker was not included, much to the player’s frustration.

However, he fully intends to prove himself worthy of international recognition over the coming weeks and months by continuing to score and create goals in maroon.

“If I was to say I wasn’t disappointed, I’d be lying,” Walker told the Evening News. “There are obviously great players in the squad and boys who are playing at a higher level than me.

“Ryan Fraser and Stuart Armstrong are guys who played for Scotland Under-21s and they’re good players. I respect Gordon’s decision. I’ll keep working hard and use it as motivation for the big games coming up.

“I believe in my own ability and if I keep playing well and continue scoring goals, hopefully I might get a little sniff. I’m not going to sit here and say I should be in the national team. It’s full of the best players in the country.

“If I was to get into the squad, it would be a privilege. I’ll need to keep working and keep scoring to show people what I good player I am.

“I had it in the back of my mind that I’ve had a good season and I’m the top-scoring Scottish player in the league. I had a little eye on the squad thinking: ‘You never know.’ However, I’m not in it. I just need to deal with that.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BARRY ANDERSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4392204.1489531123!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4392204.1489531123!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Jamie Walker has netted 15 times from midfield for Hearts this season. Picture: Ian Georgeson","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jamie Walker has netted 15 times from midfield for Hearts this season. Picture: Ian Georgeson","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4392204.1489531123!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4394186.1489685970!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4394186.1489685970!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Jamie Walker, pictured alongside Foundation of Hearts chairman Stewart Wallace, is urging FOH members to increase their pledges by �1 to generate almost �100,000 for the Edinburgh club. FoH have 8,000 members and today launched a scheme to get each one to up their monthly donations, which provide Hearts with vital funds each year. Visit www.foundationofhearts.org for details. Pic: Greg Macvean","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jamie Walker, pictured alongside Foundation of Hearts chairman Stewart Wallace, is urging FOH members to increase their pledges by �1 to generate almost �100,000 for the Edinburgh club. FoH have 8,000 members and today launched a scheme to get each one to up their monthly donations, which provide Hearts with vital funds each year. Visit www.foundationofhearts.org for details. Pic: Greg Macvean","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4394186.1489685970!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/hearts-andraz-struna-recalled-by-slovenia-for-scotland-clash-1-4393504","id":"1.4393504","articleHeadline": "Hearts' Andraz Struna recalled by Slovenia for Scotland clash","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1489663596101 ,"articleLead": "

Hearts defender Andraz Struna has been recalled to the Slovenia squad for the forthcoming World Cup qualifier against Scotland.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4393503.1489663804!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Andraz Struna has been recalled by Slovenia after some solid displays for Hearts"} ,"articleBody": "

The right-back is part of a 24-man group which will travel to Hampden to face Gordon Strachan side a week on Sunday - a match which the Scotland coach admitted is \"must-win\" to keep alive any chance of reaching Russia in 2018.

Struna hasn't played for his country since June last year after failing to find a new club during the first half of the season. Consistent performances since signing a six-month deal with Hearts in January have helped him regain his international place.

His call-up follows news that the Tynecastle midfielder Alex Tziolis is in the Greek squad to face Belgium in their World Cup qualifier. Fellow midfielder Arnaud Djoum will also head off on international duty with Cameroon for friendlies against Tunisia and Guinea, whilst Liam Smith joins the Scotland Under-21 squad for a friendly with Estonia.

" ,"byline": {"email": "barry.anderson@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Barry Anderson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4393503.1489663804!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4393503.1489663804!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Andraz Struna has been recalled by Slovenia after some solid displays for Hearts","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Andraz Struna has been recalled by Slovenia after some solid displays for Hearts","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4393503.1489663804!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/beating-aberdeen-would-put-marker-down-for-hearts-next-season-1-4393015","id":"1.4393015","articleHeadline": "Beating Aberdeen ‘would put marker down for Hearts next season’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1489645824000 ,"articleLead": "

When newly-promoted Hearts finished within six points of second-placed Aberdeen last season, the general consensus was that the Edinburgh side would be equipped to mount an even stronger challenge to the Dons this term.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4393014.1489603130!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Prince Buaben, left, beats Andrew Considine to the ball at Tynecastle"} ,"articleBody": "

Lending further credence to this notion was the fact Hearts won the last three competitive meetings between the teams in the 2015/16 campaign. For much of this term, it looked like the Tynecastle side were ready to at least take the battle for second place to the wire. In mid-October, Hearts were a point behind Aberdeen. By the start of December, the Tynecastle side had climbed to second place, two points clear of the Dons, who had two games in hand.

No-one could have envisaged at that point that Hearts would be heading for Pittodrie a whopping 14 points adrift of Aberdeen with two months of the season still to play. Yet that is the scenario after a three-and-a-half-month window in which the two sides have experienced significantly contrasting fortunes.

Hearts, during a turbulent period of transition following a major overhaul of the coaching and playing staff, have won only four of their past 13 Premiership games, while Aberdeen have found their stride and won ten of their past 15 to storm clear of both Rangers and the Jambos in the race for second. In the circumstances, a Saturday lunchtime win in the Granite City is unlikely to give Hearts any realistic chance of hauling themselves back into contention for the runner-up spot behind Celtic. However, it would at least offer their supporters hope that Ian Cathro’s work-in-progress team will have a genuine chance of competing with the Dons next season.

“I think the gap is too big at the moment but if Hearts can go to Pittodrie and win it sets the standard for next season,” said former Hearts defender Paul Ritchie. “It’s going to be a difficult game because Derek McInnes has got Aberdeen flying at the moment. Aberdeen are the benchmark for Hearts. They’ve shown the consistency levels that are required to be second just now. Celtic are miles ahead of everybody else but what Derek has shown at Aberdeen is that with hard work and a bit of quality, you can do exceptionally well in this league. That’s what Ian and Hearts need to aspire to.”

Aberdeen are going for a record-equalling ninth consecutive home win in the league, while Hearts have won only one of their last nine away league games. The Edinburgh side can at least draw some encouragement from the fact they have lost only four of their last 22 meetings with Aberdeen and have been defeated in only one of their last five visits to Pittodrie. They are also buoyed by last Saturday’s 4-0 thrashing of Hamilton Accies.

“The Hamilton game was a great reaction following a very disappointing few weeks for the club,” said Ritchie, a Scottish Cup winner with the Jambos in 1998. “But no disrespect to Hamilton – Aberdeen away is a much more difficult game. It would be a real statement if we could win up there. Once again, it’s a test of character for the players. A few of the new players were called out with regards to their commitment level and contribution to the Hibs games, so this is a chance to go back out in a big game and show that they are deserving of playing for Hearts.”

While Ritchie is disappointed by the way things have unravelled for the club he supports in recent months, he retains full faith in Cathro’s ability to lead them to new heights next season. “I would hope that Hearts would be in a position to be challenging for second next season,” said the 41-year-old former Scotland internationalist. “For a club of Hearts’ size, especially with the new stand going up, finishing in the top two or three places in the Premiership is a must next season. The club is going in the right direction but the last three or four months have been a bit of a blip. I still see us being on an upward trend as a club and a full pre-season will give Ian a real opportunity to bed in his ideas.

“He’s brought in a lot of new players in January but it’s not gone the way he or the Hearts fans would have liked in the short term. He is clearly trying to install a method of play that makes us a more entertaining team and a winning football team, but that takes time. It will be next season before we see the real influence Ian can have.

“When Hearts were second earlier in the season, they knew how to win games. At the start of the season – and this is meant as no disrespect to Robbie Neilson – they weren’t great to watch, but they were getting results. They were pretty poor away from home, but they knew how to win games at home and I think they’ve lost that during the transitional period with all the new guys coming. You need to find a balance. Everybody wants their team to play well but ultimately you need to win games. We’ll get there but it will take time.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ANTHONY BROWN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4393014.1489603130!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4393014.1489603130!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Prince Buaben, left, beats Andrew Considine to the ball at Tynecastle","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Prince Buaben, left, beats Andrew Considine to the ball at Tynecastle","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4393014.1489603130!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/ian-cathro-hearts-will-be-ready-to-compete-with-league-s-best-1-4392904","id":"1.4392904","articleHeadline": "Ian Cathro: Hearts will be ready to compete with league’s best","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1489645816000 ,"articleLead": "

Ian Cathro insists Hearts are fully ready to compete with Scotland’s best as they prepare to face Aberdeen, Celtic and St Johnstone in their next three matches.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4392903.1489596431!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ian Cathro is looking forward to pitting his wits against Aberdeen on Saturday. Pic: TSPL"} ,"articleBody": "

Confidence taken from Saturday’s 4-0 win against Hamilton at Tynecastle has helped morale after a five-match winless run. However, Cathro says his team would have coped with upcoming challenges regardless.

Hearts sit fourth in the Ladbrokes Premiership ahead of Saturday’s trip to Pittodrie to meet second-placed Aberdeen in a lunchtime kick-off.

They host runaway leaders Celtic two weeks on Sunday, also at lunchtime, and then visit McDiarmid Park three days later to face fifth-placed St Johnstone.

“It’s something we look forward to. We look forward to the games against opponents at the top of the league, which is where we want to be,” Cathro explained to the Evening News.

“These are positive things. We look forward to getting ready, training well and preparing well. We’ll be ready when the game comes.

“Irrespective of what happened on Saturday with our win against Hamilton, we’re more than ready to be competing with the teams we face in the next two fixtures. There’s no doubt about that, no insecurities.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BARRY ANDERSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4392903.1489596431!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4392903.1489596431!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Ian Cathro is looking forward to pitting his wits against Aberdeen on Saturday. Pic: TSPL","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ian Cathro is looking forward to pitting his wits against Aberdeen on Saturday. Pic: TSPL","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4392903.1489596431!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} ]}}} ]}