Callum Paterson has told Hearts it is time to “man up” after their timid exit from the Scottish Cup at the hands of city foes Hibs.
The defender,22, insisted the players had to shoulder the blame for Wednesday’s 3-1 defeat and claimed that, given time, manager Ian Cathro would turn things around.
“Honestly, he is brilliant,” said Paterson, currently recovering from torn knee ligaments. “His tactical mind, everything is unbelievable. It’s just not clicking right now, but that will come. The way he applies himself on the training ground is impeccable. He’s great at what he does. It’s about giving it time to work.
“Everyone will be hurting but they need to man up and try to rectify it. I’ve played in many derbies, I’ve won a few and lost a few, so I know exactly how they should be feeling. They need to use that hurt to build something positive. They do that by taking third place minimum and by trying to push on further than that.”
Looking forward is something Paterson has had to do since he crumpled to the turf during a match against Kilmarnock in December. Out of contract at the end of this season, the 22-year-old was in the form of his life and on the verge of a big move to English football.
“All I do is play football, think about football,” he added. “It’s the one thing I love the most and I can’t do it right now. But I accepted [the situation] the day I did it. I’ve got nine months to get better and, when it comes to long-term injury, ninety per cent of it is in the mind. As long as you keep the mind healthy, the body will follow.”
While Hearts have intimated they would offer him a new contract, Paterson has put decisions about his future on the back burner. “I’ve nothing to decide now,” he said. “My future is up in the air but I’m not focusing on that. I’ve been dealt the worst hand. I’ve got to focus on fixing myself. I’ve got high ambitions for when I return. I’ve been playing for the national team and that’s where I want to return. I’ve got a lot of hard work ahead of me but I want to get back even better.”
• Callum Paterson was speaking at the Tesco Bank Football Challenge at Queensferry Primary School, South Queensferry. More than 120,000 children have now taken part in the grassroots programme.