Ian Cathro: I’m not faulty goods & I’ll silence doubters at Hearts

Hearts owner Ann Budge is captivated by new head coach Ian Cathro during his first press conference since taking command
Hearts owner Ann Budge is captivated by new head coach Ian Cathro during his first press conference since taking command
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Ian Cathro admitted today Hearts are taking a huge risk appointing him head coach but pledged to silence those who have criticised his arrival.

In a strong defence of his credentials, Cathro stressed he had no issue with people questioning why he has been chosen to succeed Robbie Neilson at Tynecastle.

The new head coach has signed a three-and-a-half-year contract to take his first managerial job aged 30. He never played football professionally and is aware people are sceptical about his lack of management experience.

He previously coached at Rio Ave in Portugal, Valencia in Spain and, most recently, Newcastle United. His Hearts assistant will be his close friend Austin MacPhee, also No.2 to Northern Ireland coach Michael O’Neill.

Cathro, 30, vowed to take full responsibility for proving that he can guide Hearts to new heights and, in turn, prove sceptics wrong. “In short, yes, it’s a risk,” he conceded. “Backed up by the fact any new manager coming into a club is a type of risk.

“The type of risk with myself is obviously specific as I have not done it before.

“Something I want to be really clear with is that I understand those doubts. Those doubts are valid and I accept the responsibility for the removal of those doubts. That’s on me.

“Not much bothers me. I’m quite direct and quite a focused person. There’s a lot of noise but I tend to only hear the things that allow me to make a difference.

“I will 100 per cent accept the responsibility of that risk but in the weeks and months some of them will disappear. A little bit further down the line, they will all be gone.”

Cathro thanked Hearts director of football Craig Levein for having the bravery to appoint him. It was Levein who gave him a job as head of youth at Dundee United aged 22.

“He’s thought: ‘Here’s someone who can make a difference. Why wouldn’t I give him the platform to make a difference in my club?’ That takes courage, it takes an independent mind, it takes belief, it takes risk. To have someone give you that opportunity was positive.”

Cathro defended his own character and stressed he has all the tools required to succeed as a head coach. “There’s no missing piece I don’t think. I want all the pieces to be bigger and brighter and more polished and stronger, but I’m not sitting here as someone who’s got a piece missing.

“I’m not faulty goods. Like everyone, I’m just going to grow and improve in every aspect. That’s one of the reasons for stepping up to do this.

“You reach a point where maybe you stop growing in your existing environment. I don’t like that. I like growing. I like improving. I like challenge.

“The biggest change now is decision making. I’m now the person who makes all the decisions all of the time. I need to get us efficient, together and strong. I’ve always done the work. I’ve just been handing it over before.”