Gary Mackay: Hearts have to admit defeat on Ian Cathro reign

Hearts have struggled under the tenure of Ian Cathro. Pic: SNS
Hearts have struggled under the tenure of Ian Cathro. Pic: SNS
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Unfortunately, it’s now come to the point where everyone at Hearts has to hold their hands up and concede that the current managerial set-up is simply not working.

It’s clear that we don’t have a figurehead who the players are responding to. No matter who the playing personnel have been, the head coach has failed to get a tune out of them. We had reputable players come in last season, including current internationalists, and the team struggled terribly. We have now had a chance to upgrade this summer – or at least that was the consensus – yet still we look a team in disarray. In February, Ian Cathro called for a reaction after a terrible loss to Hibs at Easter Road, and yet the next game, away to Partick, was just as inept. Likewise, he called for a response after last week’s defeat at Peterhead and it was followed up with another dismal performance against Dunfermline. These two instances show me that the head coach is unable to motivate the players. Plenty people have spoken of how good Ian’s coaching is, but ultimately there is zero evidence of that transmitting itself to the pitch.

After all the talk of improvement recently, I’d have expected us to be able to kick on and turn the screw after taking the lead against a Championship team. Instead we let Dunfermline right back into it. The head coach made a tongue-in-cheek remark last week about how he is perceived to have no personality, but the fact is his team doesn’t have any personality. Hearts appear bereft of spirit. The head coach and the director of football looked like rabbits in the headlights at the end on Saturday. We are a huge club in Scottish football terms, with 14,000 season-ticket holders, and we need strong leadership with passion and personality. We simply don’t have that at the moment.

Then we have the Jamie Walker situation. Even if Walker isn’t in great form at the moment, you can’t tell me we are good enough to leave him out. Only two weeks ago both Ian and Don Cowie were raving about Jamie. I find it incredible that, after the Peterhead debacle, our most influential attacking player – even on an off-day – was the only one to pay the price. We should be trying to motivate our best player – not alienate him. Yet another issue that tells me things are not right under the current set-up at Hearts.