Former Hearts captain Michael Stewart has accused Tynecastle director of football Craig Levein of making a “glaring mistake” in appointing Ian Cathro as head coach.
Cathro was removed from his position at the Gorgie club on Tuesday morning after an underwhelming tenure culminated in exiting the Betfred Cup at the group stages.
Stewart told BBC Radio Scotland: “To a certain extent, I feel a little bit sorry for Ian Cathro. He was so clearly not adequate for the job and his shortcomings were clear for everybody to see.
“And the bigger picture for me is the management structure above that put Ian Cathro into the position he was in, because it was such a glaring mistake. It wasn’t even a case of, yes, maybe and mitigating circumstances, it was a guy who was drowning in the position he was in.
“I look up above him, he seemed to get very little support publicly from his boss and his boss has now fired the gun and bulleted him. But how can sacking a head coach days before the start of the season not draw the question of how did he see this as a good appointment?
“You have given him the summer, recruited players, pre-season to work with players and then you sack a manager days before the start of the league season. That is an indictment on the judgement of that director of football.
“He had known Ian Cathro very well for a number of years yet saw fit to make this appointment, while people who barely knew him had spotted within days this weakness in his character in terms of communication and people skills.
“Hearts have gone down the route of young, up-and-coming coaches. Why limit yourselves to one sector of the industry?”
Stewart backed former Hearts skipper Steven Pressley to replace Cathro but questioned whether he would work with Levein despite their strong relationship.
The former Hibernian player added: “Bluntly, I don’t think Craig Levein is a positive for the club.
“I don’t think there’s any danger he will go. I think he has manufactured this position in respect of him being the director of football for this exact reason, so he is insulated from the criticism to a certain extent.”