Ian Cathro has been championed by an unexpected advocate after Joey Barton defended the decision to hire the 30-year-old as new Hearts head coach.
The former Rangers player was appearing on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss his time at Ibrox. The topic later shifted to the latest developments at Tynecastle with Kris Boyd also invited on to the show.
The Kilmarnock striker was quizzed on his reasons for writing a scathing column in the Scottish Sun, which questioned the decision of Hearts to go for Cathro over other, potentially more experienced, managers.
Barton asked Boyd whether he would still have written the article if Hearts had gone for Steven Gerrard instead. Boyd said he probably wouldn’t have, because Gerrard would have a greater knowledge of how a dressing room works having been a player for so many years.
However, Barton argued that Cathro, with his experience in Scotland, England, Portugal and Spain, represented less of a risk than someone who has never coached before.
He said: “This guy [Cathro], I mean, Steve McClaren is a good coach, Rafa Benitez is a very experienced manager, he’s obviously had the real drive and desire to go across to Portugal at a young age and coach and then to go to Valencia with the same manager, so he’s got credibility.
“How I look at it is you’ve got Steven Gerrard, who could be a top manager in the future, but he’s a novice. This guy’s got some experience and I think you’ve got to let him run with it. I would be less sceptical, and I get why you’ve said what you’ve said and it is a big risk, but so is every appointment.”
Barton also believes Hearts are ahead of the curve by going for someone seen as more progressive rather than an “old school” appointment.
He added: “We’ve got to be careful as footballers thinking just because we’ve played the game sometimes we’ve got a quite blinkered view of it. I speak to young players now, the days of shouting and bawling and giving a rocket up their a*** at half-time, it’s a totally different landscape.”