Ian Cathro expects Hearts supporters to raise the Tynecastle roof tomorrow night against Kilmarnock.
Still reeling from Friday’s 3-2 defeat at Dens Park, which he termed a “slap in the face”, the head coach stressed the need for more spirit and unity from his team.
Hearts dominated Dundee for 55 minutes but surrendered a two-goal lead, leaving Cathro visibly angry. However, he remains encouraged by the first-half display. He wants a repeat of that against Kilmarnock as he seeks his first win in charge in his fourth match.
Asked if he expects backing from supporters, he replied: “On the basis we start the game the way I intend for us to start the game, the roof will come off.
“Every time you take a slap in the face it gets a bit more difficult, but that has got to prompt more fight and togetherness.
“We have had to be honest with ourselves and the good thing about football is that there’s always tomorrow. You have conversations when you win and when you lose. Everyone has to take another step up.
“We have to work, work, work and go out and get the win. I don’t see a team lacking confidence, I see situations in the game where it maybe starts to swing against us a little bit and more of us need to step up.
“You have to give leadership and send messages around the team, make sure we’re together and keep strong in the game. That’s part of our growth but there are things you can improve gradually and it’s fine for it to be improved gradually. And there are things you need for it to be improved ‘boom’ right now. It’s those boom ones we need to fix right now. That should give us some solutions.”
Cathro admitted Hearts are now in a difficult position having lost to Rangers and Dundee and drawn with Partick Thistle in their last three games.
He revealed how he expected to achieve his first win before now but pledged to use strength of character to continue fighting.
“I thought I’d win quickly but challenges come,” he continued. “If you start well then everything’s okay, then you get the extremities of it. You are either a genius or an idiot and the truth is usually you’re neither. You’re somewhere on the scale but you’re neither.
“I think I’m in a fortunate position because I’m quite a strong person and there’s not much that will rock me. It’s just as well I am that person because we’re in a difficult spot.
“I think the players can feel comfortable because we all know we’re strong people. The fight is fine and the challenges are good. I like them.”
Kilmarnock striker Kris Boyd openly criticised Cathro’s appointment by Hearts and is sure of a hostile reception tomorrow. The coach insisted he didn’t pay much attention to Boyd’s comments.
“It’s less than water off a duck’s back,” he said. “I have done what I’ve done in my life because I focus on what’s important. Noise is noise and everything else is nothing so it’s not worth a comment, really.”