Ian Cathro on Hearts, media critics and the January window

Ian Cathro (right) speaks at his opening press conference as Hearts boss. Picture: PA
Ian Cathro (right) speaks at his opening press conference as Hearts boss. Picture: PA
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Ian Cathro had his first media conference as Hearts manager today after being unveiled as the successor to Robbie Neilson last night.

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Here’s what he had to say.

On why it’s the right time to join Hearts...

“It’s the right place because of the tremendous work that’s gone on in this football club in the past two and a half years. I’ve been lucky that I’ve been at places like Newcastle and Valencia, where the club is such a huge part of people’s lives. The fantastic support that poured into the club [Hearts] from the fans during the dark days shows you what a special place this is. It’s been incredible work by Ann Budge and Craig Levein, and by Robbie Neilson and Stevie Crawford, and I want to take that on further.”

On the criticism he’s received...

“I’m quite interesting, aren’t I? I was genuinely unaware of this.

“If you met me when I was 18, you would have thought “what a boring 40-year-old”.

“Comment on football is part of what it is, it’s part of the reason why stadiums are full, because everyone can be involved. It’s completely fine.”

However, he did have a subtle dig at the critics later, when asked on how he plans to set out the team...

“This is not a day for specifics. I mean, I’ve got numerous powerpoint presentations. You just need to go to the back there and lift the laptop and see them all.”

Asked if he’ll represent a radical change from Robbie Neilson...

“I don’t think it’s a radical departure than what’s gone before. All of the words that have been used about me, they are certainly not what I’d choose to describe myself. I don’t think my methods are necessarily radical, maybe slightly different.”

On what his relationship with Craig Levein will be...

“It’ll be me that picks the team. If I can have help, then I want it. I want support and for this to be a collective effort so we can take real steps forward that can last, but it’ll be what I want.”

On what his title will be: head coach or manager?

“In Spain they’re not obsessed with terms like manager or sports director. I’m not particularly fussed with the title. It comes down to what I do and what I want from the people around me.”

What he thinks of the current team...

“It’s in a good position. There is talent and energy in the group. There’s a decent balance of experienced types in the team and still some guys with points to prove, which is a good thing. I see guys at different stages in life but with the same hunger.”

On the January transfer window...

“We’ve talked about January very briefly. I hope to be able to improve the squad prior to bringing in anyone else. That’s where the first emphasis is. There’s not a lot of time for that but there is a bit of time.”

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