Ex-Hearts boss Craig Levein on 'ahead of his time' Ian Cathro and struggles with the media

Craig Levein believes Ian Cathro, the man he chose as Hearts boss, was “ahead of his time” in a coaching sense but let down by an inability to ‘play’ the media.

By Joel Sked
Monday, 30th November 2020, 12:30 pm
Craig Levein believes Ian Cathro was ahead of his time. Picture: SNS
Craig Levein believes Ian Cathro was ahead of his time. Picture: SNS

Cathro’s appointment in December 2016 was met with plenty of intrigue and excitement with the then 30-year-old seen as one of the most promising Scottish coaches destined for big things.

He had worked under Levein at Dundee United before going on to coach at Rio Ave in Portugal and Spanish giants Valencia alongside Nuno Espirito Santo, as well as at Newcastle United.

Cathro’s relationship with the former Hearts player, manager and director of football paved the way for him to replace Robbie Neilson after the current Tynecastle boss left for MK Dons.

Sign up to our Hearts newsletter

However, he won just eight of 30 games he took charge of and was relieved of his duties after the club failed to progress from the Betfred Cup group stage ahead of the start of the 2017/18 league season.

“When Robbie (Neilson) left, Ian Cathro was my idea,” Levein told the Football Daft podcast.

“I’d worked with Ian at Dundee United and I convinced the board to take a chance on him. That didn’t work.

“There’s no doubting his coaching capabilities.

“But his life experience and being put in the hot seat, I don’t think he was quite ready for it.”

‘Wasn’t engaging enough’

Levein has yet to have a sit down with Cathro and discuss his time at Tynecastle but believes ability to deal with the press was a real issue for him.

“I do think he is on the coaching front (ahead of his time),” Levein said.

“But in Scotland you’ve got to play the game with the media. I don’t think it was something Ian took too seriously.

“He thought he could just sort of fob people off and it wasn’t the most important thing he had to deal with.

“It’s just my opinion – he wasn’t engaging enough to get them onside.

“The other thing is, he was brilliant with the players. But the media stuff was a real problem for him.”

Read More

Read More
Ex-Hearts boss Ian Cathro, 5 whiskies and 65-goal target for Goncalves, Walker a...