Ian Cathro stressed there is more to come from Hearts after last night’s narrow Betfred League Cup win over Elgin. Kyle Lafferty’s first competitive goal for the Edinburgh club secured a 1-0 victory at Borough Briggs in Group B of the new-look League Cup.
Hearts’ performance was steady, but lacked the kind of creative spark needed to break down a well-organised Elgin defence. Lafferty produced a glancing header from substitute Rafal Grzelak’s cross on the hour mark to separate the sides.
There was a price to pay for the visitors as defender Ashley Smith-Brown was forced off with a groin injury in the first half. Grzelak took his place and assisted with the winner, but Hearts head coach Cathro feels his team have more momentum to find after their first competitive outing of the new season.
“Definitely, there is more to come. You’re almost tricked into thinking you’ve got to score loads of goals in these games and that’s not true,” he said. “You’ve got to play the game and make sure you are the dominant team, and go away with the win.
“That’s what we’ve done. We have to move forward, progress and improve on things. We feel we’ve done what we went there to do, which was win the game. We’re aware there are parts of our play which we want to be better. That was the case anyway because this is an ongoing process.
“We’re already looking forward to the East Fife game on Saturday, the next game in the group. We’ve got time to recover and do some work so we’re looking forward to a home game.”
On Laffery’s goal, he added: “We had a number of chances throughout the game. Kyle had a number himself in the first half but he stayed calm and kept doing the correct things. We got through it.
“We never had any idea it was going to be an overly comfortable game. That was the case. We knew it was a difficult task. It was our first competitive game. The only important thing was putting in a strong enough performance to control the game.
“We’re working day by day to get there but this is it so we have to be ready. Some stuff progresses but you can only make a judgment on how the team is in the first game. Then you look at the next game and the next game. We will continue working to improve.
Smith-Brown came off after 28 minutes and will be assessed by medical staff at Riccarton. “He felt a discomfort in his groin so we’ll need to see how that looks over the next couple of days. We don’t anticipate that it’s too bad. We’re obviously hoping it isn’t anything serious, that goes without saying,” commented Cathro.
Meanwhile, 20-year-old Hearts striker Alistair Roy yesterday joined Dumbarton on loan until January.