Hibs boss Neil Lennon: Hearts axed Ian Cathro far too quickly

Neil Lennon
Neil Lennon
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Hibs head coach Neil Lennon insists city rivals Hearts have acted “too soon” with their decision to axe Ian Cathro from the Tynecastle hot-seat.

Lennon admitted he was taken aback the Gorgie board had reached an agreement to part ways with their manager earlier this week.

As the Easter Road side prepares to host Partick Thistle tomorrow, Hearts, who have put coach Jon Daly in charge of first-team affairs until a permanent manager is found, face a daunting trip to play last season’s treble-winners Celtic. However, Lennon harbours some sympathy for Cathro who, he believes, was still too young to be given a job of that calibre.

“I think it was too soon as the season has not started,” he said. “But this is the modern game and we all know it is based on results. For me, he was very, very young to be given that job. At 31 you are very, very young. His pedigree was good and he had worked at Valencia and Newcastle but it is a huge difference from being the coach or the assistant to becoming the manager. It was difficult for him. He will come again, i’m sure of it. I don’t think he has to learn from it, he just has to gain more experience elsewhere and pick the right moment if he wants to go back into management in the future. I just felt it came too soon for him.”

Recalling his own experiences from his time at Celtic when he made the transition from first-team coach to being appointed manager on a permanent basis in 2010, Lennon said: “It was easy. The players knew me. I was coach under Gordon [Strachan] and then development coach under Tony [Mowbray], but I was part of the furniture. I had been there since 2000. I knew the players and club inside out.

“Ian has come from outside to in. The structure may have been good, but it is still a big ask for a 31-year-old to go into a dressing room, full of international players, and get his points across as vociferously as he can.”