Ian Cathro admits Hearts have “no choice” other than to fight past Raith Rovers in Wednesday’s Scottish Cup replay and tee up a fifth round tie against Hibs.
However, the Tynecastle head coach criticised the scheduling of the rematch just three days after yesterday’s 1-1 draw at Stark’s Park.
The Scottish Cup fifth round draw scheduled the winner of the Raith-Hearts match to play Hibs at home, a potential repeat of last year’s fifth round match between the Edinburgh rivals.
On that occasion, a 2-2 draw at Tynecastle preceded a 1-0 Hibs victory at Easter Road. Whoever prevails on Wednesday will host Hibs on the weekend of February 11/12.
Jamie Walker opened the scoring in Kirkcaldy yesterday but Rudi Skacel and Declan McManus combined to bring Raith level in the 89th minute.
Asked if he was confident of winning the replay, Cathro replied: “We’ve got no choice. No choice.”
He then went on to declare his unhappiness at the SFA’s decision to replay the game so quickly. “It’s not great. It seems a bit crazy to play back-to-back, to be honest,” he continued.
“I understand there’s a lot of scheduling demands but it doesn’t make sense for a lot of reasons. We’ve no choice in the matter. I expected to win yesterday so I didn’t look at when the replay was.”
The Raith manager Gary Locke admitted he would have preferred a longer break. “It’s a quick turnaround. It would be better if we had a league game first but, if that’s the way it is, then we’ll go again on Wednesday,” he said.
“It will be a completely different game at Tynecastle against a Hearts side with the crowd behind them. But if we go there and play the way we did yesterday then we’ll cause them problems.”
Hibs are in the fifth round after thumping the Junior club Bonnyrigg Rose 8-1 on Saturday – ironically at Tynecastle.
The Easter Road club will return to the home of their bitter rivals next month provided Hearts dispense with Raith in midweek.
Cathro offered praise for his new signings after yesterday’s match. He fielded right-back Andraz Struna, centre-back Aaron Hughes, left-back Lennard Sowah and midfielder Malaury Martin all in his starting line-up in Fife.
All four delivered competent displays on their debuts. “The new boys did well, they worked well and added to the team,” said Cathro. “They showed qualities and they get more comfortable every day. It will be a gradual thing regarding how they go from here.”