Ian Cathro bemoans lack of aggression from Hearts players

Hearts boss Ian Cathro was disappointed by his side's lack of intensity
Hearts boss Ian Cathro was disappointed by his side's lack of intensity
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Ian Cathro admitted Hearts lacked intensity, pressure and aggression at times during the 1-0 defeat by St Johnstone.

The head coach was disappointed with his team’s first-half performance in particular but argued that they didn’t deserve to lose in Perth.

Chris Kane’s first-half goal settled the match, leaving Hearts without a league win at McDiarmid Park since November 2010. Cathro left the ground lamenting his team’s failure to perform with greater intensity.

“We thought we were comfortable in the first half and became passive,” he said.

“We lacked intensity, lacked real pressure, lacked real aggression. We had those things in the second half. I don’t feel in any way that it’s a game we deserved to lose.

“The fact we were so poor in the first half is a factor. Not all of it but parts of it.

“We started okay but then we became comfortable and we became passive. Parts of that were completely unacceptable.

“The period of time in which this club hasn’t won here continues to grow. That’s another thing which I don’t believe is acceptable for this club. We have to address that.”

Asked to expand on his dissatisfaction, he added: “We were passive defensively. We needed more aggression across the middle of the pitch.

“We had to get closer to players quicker and make sure we don’t allow them to play against us.

“That can’t be a part of how we play. I’d describe that as an unacceptable thing.

“It improved in the second half, combined with us playing with the ball. We had to find the space between the lines quicker, turn quicker and hit more attacks. It was an improvement in the second half.”

Tommy Wright acclaimed a record St Johnstone points tally in the top flight after the win took them on to 58 points in the Ladbrokes Premiership.

“It’s another little milestone for us,” said the McDiarmid Park manager. “We made changes to the team but the ability to go and win a game was still there. We could’ve got a second goal on many occasions.

“We defended well when we had to. I thought we passed the ball well in the first half, although not as much in the second half. It’s another good victory and it shows we are, without a doubt, the fourth-best team in the league. Chris Kane has scored a few goals against Hearts and he had one which hit the bar as well.”

Danny Swanson was making his final St Johnstone appearance before joining Hibs. He serves a suspension in the last game of the campaign this weekend. “Everybody recognises Danny’s contribution and that’s his last game for the club,” added Wright. “I was toying with the idea of not playing him but I found out through a third party that he wanted to walk out with his kid before the game. I realised how much it meant to him so we decided to play him. Danny’s been brilliant for me and he goes with my good wishes.”