Hearts coach Ian Cathro savoured his first win in management last night – but only enjoyed it for 15 minutes.
A 4-0 home triumph over Kilmarnock secured Cathro’s first three points since he replaced Robbie Neilson at Tynecastle.
The Dundonian briefly basked in the satisfaction before turning his attention to Friday night’s visit of Aberdeen. He must also contend with an injury to Callum Paterson, who was stretchered off after appearing to twist his knee.
Paterson had opened the scoring before Arnaud Djoum and a Jamie Walker double secured the maiden victory of Cathro’s managerial career. He had endured defeats against Rangers and Dundee and a draw with Partick Thistle before succeeding at the fourth attempt.
“I enjoyed it for ten or 15 minutes after the final whistle. I had some phonecalls to make to give some thanks to people who have supported me – because there are some,” he laughed.
“The big thing for me is to always do our work and always try to improve. That’s what I love about football and it’s the one thing I focus on all the time. There are parts of our play which we can improve and we will improve. That remains the focus for me.
“Of course, there’s a strong feeling of satisfaction and a bit of joy. It’s good to see the players rewarded for going that extra couple of yards last night.
“I’d probably sound foolish to say I’m not massively relieved. I’m quite focused on my work but, of course, the quicker some of the nonsense can die away then we can look only at what’s real. So, from that point of view, maybe there’s slight relief.”
Hearts dominated the match from start to finish and would have won 5-0 had Dario Zanatta’s stoppage-time penalty not been saved by Kilmarnock goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald.
Cathro admitted there is concern surrounding Paterson. His knee is due to be scanned later today. “It’s an awkward one which, at the time, there was some concern. Until we get it looked at, we just don’t know. We hope things are as good as they can be.
“Everyone is worried for him. Sometimes these things can be not what you expect. It wasn’t a nice moment, obviously. The only thing we can do with certainty is give it time and allow everyone to do what is needed.”
Cathro added that he expects Hearts to gradually improve over the coming weeks. “It was important for the players to have their moment, feel good, feel strong, manage the game and stay on top. They deserve to feel good. There were moments where we managed to stay in the opponents’ half of the park and we controlled play.
“Players are starting to pick themselves up and release themselves a bit more. Not with freedom but a bit of extra energy, a moment of inspiration. People are stepping up a little bit more. Every day, we’re getting more comfortable with our work, the situations we were in. Everybody found a bit more.”
Asked about Kilmarnock striker Kris Boyd’s recent criticism of his appointment, he replied: “That’s for other people to react to and enjoy. Had it gone any way, the reaction from me would have been the same. Honestly. There’s no reaction from me on that.”
Kilmarnock manager Lee Clark admitted his players could have lost by more having failed to exploit Hearts’ recent run without a win. “We knew certain things hadn’t been right here and there could be half a chance, but inside eight minutes we’re a goal down. We didn’t do the fundamentals. We lost by four and it could’ve been more,” he said.
“There have been harsh words said amongst the players themselves. We know the last two games we’ve gone full cycle and gone back to where we were. We were soft and very poor without the ball. The goals we gave away were schoolboy goals.”