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

Hearts manager Ian Cathro, right, with Austin MacPhee. Picture: SNS.
Hearts manager Ian Cathro, right, with Austin MacPhee. Picture: SNS.
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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.

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.

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.