Hearts are preparing to change tactics for Saturday’s Premiership match with Inverness to combat the rutted Tynecastle pitch.
The uneven surface makes a passing style difficult and head coach Ian Cathro admitted he will be forced to alter his gameplan slightly.
Recent weeks have seen Hearts’ pitch become dry, bumpy and worn out in places. Cathro is keen to encourage a passing game and signed nine players during January to practise that philosophy. However, he conceded other methods may be necessary in the short term.
Tynecastle officials will replace the pitch during the summer as part of the main stand rebuilding project. Until then, Cathro stressed his players must adapt their game where necessary.
That will start this weekend when bottom-of-the-table Inverness, who are without a league win since October, arrive desperate for points.
“We have to accept everything that can affect the game and take it into account. We have to deal with the pitch and we have to find the right solutions to be able to win the game,” Cathro told the Evening News.
“It’s very difficult to go against what you do. You believe in certain things, focus on certain things, work on certain things. We will be flexible. We won’t turn black into white but we certainly will adapt bits of how we play to make sure we can be the dominant team and win the game.” Cathro acknowledged that the surface is not helping the ball players in his midfield. “It’s not and we can’t hide from that in any way whatsoever,” he continued. “Ultimately, it comes down to a very simple point: It’s our responsibility to go and work and find a way of winning the game.”
Next season will see a resplendent new pitch and stand in place in Gorgie, eagerly anticipated by the head coach, his backroom staff and players.
“That’s one of the many things we’re looking forward to next season,” he said. “The new stand is an amazing project and we’re looking forward to having a first-class surface to play on inside what will become a top stadium.
“That’s a really exciting thing for me and all the players. The young players in the club’s academy can start to aspire to walk out on to a new pitch inside a new stadium. It will also help with players we might want to join us in the future. It’s a great thing for us to look forward to.”