Gary Mackay: Cathro has got plenty to work on at Hearts

Saturday's performance from Hearts was very disappointing in all areas, especially considering how comprehensively we'd taken Rangers apart at Tynecastle just ten days previously.

Monday, 12th December 2016, 5:30 am
Updated Wednesday, 14th December 2016, 1:27 pm
Hearts manager Ian Cathro, right, with Austin MacPhee

It was a complete role-reversal. A lot of the players will never have played at Ibrox before, and I think that showed. We gave the ball away in dangerous positions early on and there was a real edginess to us. There was no flow to our game and we didn’t carry much of a threat.

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The result has left us a bit off the pace in the battle for second now and St Johnstone are closing in behind us, so there’s a wee bit of pressure to get back on track against Partick Thistle on Saturday. The fact it’s at home puts an extra onus on us to get a victory because we generally don’t win many games on the road. As has been the case for years now, we’re heavily reliant on our Tynecastle form for building up a decent bank of points, and it’s important we maintain that if we want to stay in a prominent position in the table.

Saturday’s display highlighted that there are plenty things for Ian Cathro to work on as he looks to move us forward. Saturday wasn’t a day for judging our new head coach, though, as he’s not had a proper chance yet to get his ideas over. The people who had him written off before a ball was kicked should take a long hard look at themselves. He has a good CV and has earned the right to a crack at a big job. I can be critical of people – and I often am – but for someone to be criticised prior to their first game in charge is an absolute nonsense.

As I wrote last week, I don’t know enough about Ian to know whether or not he’s likely to be a successful Hearts head coach, but I was certainly impressed with the way he spoke at his unveiling last week. He talks very well, but ultimately being a head coach is about getting your players to do your talking for you on the pitch. Now that all the furore about his appointment is out the way, I hope he and his assistant Austin MacPhee can just focus on putting their own stamp on a Hearts team who still have the opportunity to enjoy a successful season despite Saturday’s setback.