Ian Cathro: Jamie Walker is a massive part of my Hearts

Jamie Walker was outstanding for Hearts, scoring twice
Jamie Walker was outstanding for Hearts, scoring twice
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Hearts coach Ian Cathro declared his love for Jamie Walker after the winger’s double in last night’s 4-1 rout of Rangers.

Walker netted twice, with Krystian Nowak and Don Cowie the other scorers on a perfect night for the Tynecastle side. Cathro stressed Walker is here for the long haul and is excited by how the Edinburgh club can evolve under their new management team. The win over Rangers was the third of Cathro’s nine-game tenure but unquestionably the most rousing.

01/02/17 LADBROKES PREMIERSHIP     HEARTS v RANGERS     TYNECASTLE - EDINBURGH     Hearts head coach Ian Cathro, right, embraces Perry Kitchen at full timE

01/02/17 LADBROKES PREMIERSHIP HEARTS v RANGERS TYNECASTLE - EDINBURGH Hearts head coach Ian Cathro, right, embraces Perry Kitchen at full timE

Walker was the standout figure in maroon and could easily have scored a hat-trick. “I love him. I just love his talent. It’s as simple as that,” said Cathro.

“I think Jamie is excited about what we’re doing here. He knows he has an important role to play and I think he knows how I feel about him. He’s looking forward to being part of it. He has a level of talent and will move on at some point. That’s a natural thing. It just has to be the right thing at the right time. For now he’s got a big part to play here.”

Hearts now move to within eight points of second-placed Rangers and will look to gain momentum after an uneasy start to Cathro’s reign. “I’m pleased a lot of people have been able to let out frustrations they’ve had. I’m pleased it lasted for the entire 90 minutes. That was important,” continued the head coach.

“We have more balance and options within the group to be able to manage the game better.

“Every time the ball went dead, our players were together. They were strong, they were fighting, they were pushing and wanted us to stay on top. We wanted to keep going because only good teams want to stay on top.”

Admitting that inconsistency had an effect on his squad, Cathro continued: “Sometimes it hurt and we all hurt. We stay strong collectively and none of the noise ever gets in, but sometimes you still suffer. I enjoyed seeing the players enjoying themselves and letting it all out. It’s out now, so we move on.

“I was very clear on where we would go and the stage we would reach. The only thing that frustrated me was that 17,000 fans inside the stadium hadn’t seen that yet.

“They were asked to just take my word for it, and sometimes that’s difficult. The longer it goes on, the more difficult it is. I’m pleased everyone else has had a glimpse into it and hopefully they’re excited for the ride.

“It would’ve been better if that performance came in the first game. Now we’re a number of hours from playing Motherwell on Saturday. It’s a short turnaround so we focus on that.”

Rangers manager Mark Warburton was livid with his side’s slack start to the second half as they conceded three times inside 15 minutes. He described their collapse as “unacceptable”.

“Disappointed is an understatement,” he said. “You get bad days at the office, but I didn’t see that coming.

“You’ve got to quieten the crowd here so to give them a goal after three minutes is a schoolboy error.

“But we managed to weather the storm and at half-time I thought we were in a good position. My last words at half-time were ‘give them nothing’.

“Then we gifted them stupid goals at the start of the second half. It was unacceptable. We’re Rangers Football Club – we don’t lose 4-1. No excuses, it wasn’t good enough.”