Ian Cathro: Derby is ‘massive opportunity’ for Hearts

Hearts head coach Ian Cathro is excited to be taking his team to Easter Road
Hearts head coach Ian Cathro is excited to be taking his team to Easter Road
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Ian Cathro admitted he is relishing the challenge and intensity of Hearts’ Scottish Cup replay at Easter Road.

The Tynecastle head coach labelled Wednesday’s rematch a “massive opportunity” and stressed his team will be ready for their Edinburgh rivals.

Both Hearts and Hibs were held to 1-1 draws on Saturday against Inverness and Raith Rovers respectively.

They now meet for a cup replay seeking to secure a quarter-final tie at home to Ayr United. Cathro explained that he is excited by the prospect of seeing his team play at Easter Road.

“I’m looking forward to it very much. I like big games,” he told the Evening News. “We enjoy a challenge and we enjoy pressure. This is a massive opportunity for us so we need to go there and win the game.

“I got into football because I love the game, all the games. The bigger teams, the bigger challenges and the bigger platforms; all those things you look forward to. I enjoy every day.

“The fact we have a game in three days’ time will get us over the frustration of Saturday. How important that game is for us and what a massive opportunity it is, that makes it easy to move on quickly. We don’t have a choice.”

Asked if playing at Easter Road could help Hearts given the rutted condition of the Tynecastle pitch right now, Cathro replied: “Possibly. What we need to do is just prepare properly and make sure that’s the case.”

Jamie Walker was left out of the starting line-up on Saturday but is certain to be restored against Hibs despite seeing his penalty saved by the Inverness goalkeeper Owain Fon Williams 15 minutes from the end.

“Jamie is one of our top talents and one of the important players in the team. He will always have that quality,” said Cathro.

“We have options in wide areas with Jamie, Moha Choulay and Sam Nicholson.

“Moha showed some qualities in the first half, some with the ball, some speed and some one-versus-one play. Sam was on the bench. We have that strength in the group to be able to change things.

“We do have decisions to make. It’s a positive that we’re always going to have to make those decisions. We have a stronger squad and good competition.”