Ian Cathro says Hearts are out to snatch the Scottish Cup from Hibs’ grasp when the teams meet in the last 16 next month.
The Tynecastle club eliminated Raith 4-2 after extra-time in last night’s fourth-round replay to set up an Edinburgh derby with the holders on the weekend of February 11/12.
Hibs eliminated Hearts at the same stage last season on their way to ending a 114-year wait to win the Scottish Cup. Cathro stressed this year’s tie isn’t about revenge but insisted Hearts fully intend to wrestle the trophy away from their greatest rivals.
“I’m looking forward to it massively. I think it’s an absolutely huge game,” he said. “Everybody’s excitement will be at a peak. Those are the games all of us love the most. When it comes round we’ll think about that more. We’ve earned it through last night’s fight and we feel good about that. I don’t know about revenge. I’m new here so I don’t really quite have that feeling. For us, it’s about moving to the next round of the cup. In doing that, if that results in us taking the cup away from Hibs, then I’m sure that’s something everybody at Hearts would like to be able to do.”
Cathro praised his players’ character as they fought through a tumultuous replay. The game was poised at 1-1 after 90 minutes thanks to goals from Bobby Barr and Rory Currie. The 18-year-old forward scored his first senior goal on his maiden Hearts start.
Extra-time saw Malaury Martin score his first Hearts goal from the penalty spot before Ryan Hardie equalised for Raith. Jamie Walker scored another penalty before Bjorn Johnsen’s late goal secured victory.
“Ultimately it’s relief. The way the whole story played out, the strongest man wins,” said Cathro. “That test of being able to fight, be together and staying strong – all of those things create a really big test for the players to get through. And we did. I’m pleased for them that they have that reward.
“It was tougher than we’d have liked but sometimes that challenge is an even better thing to have. We know we’ve now surpassed it. We deal with each game as it is. I don’t think it will get any tougher than last night and, ultimately, we got past that test. Now we have some really great opportunities ahead of us. We focus on Celtic first this weekend.”
Cathro would not be drawn on Hearts’ move for Esmael Goncalves, the Portuguese striker currently with Anorthosis Famagusta. “We’re not at the point of being able to identify anybody specific. We definitely do want to do some business in that area of the pitch and with that profile of striker. We have a number we’ll be looking into and we need to just be correct in what we do over the next few days – and hopefully bring one of them to a close.”
Hearts are understood to have had two bids – the latest £125,000 – rejected for Goncalves. His Anorthosos contract runs until summer 2018 and the Cypriot club want at least £250,000 to sell.
The Raith Rovers manager Gary Locke was a despondent figure at the end of a frenetic evening. “It’s very tough to take. We gave a good account of ourselves and I thought we deserved more,” he stated.
“They got two penalties, I have to see them again but they looked soft from where I was. It happens in the game and we’ve been on the end of it tonight. Getting back to 2-2, you could sense nervousness in the stands so it was disappointing the timing of the penalties.
“I need to watch what I’m saying but I wasn’t too happy with some of the decisions. We matched a team like Hearts over two games so we now need to take that into our league games.”