‘I’m not ‘ripping up’ squad’ insists Hearts head coach Ian Cathro despite more changes than expected

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IAN Cathro could hand as many as four new signings their debuts this weekend – but the Hearts head coach insists he is not intent on ‘ripping up’ the squad he has inherited.

It has been a busy January so far for the Gorgie boss, with Northern Ireland stalwart Aaron Hughes, defenders Lennard Sowah and Andraz Struna, and midfielder Malaury Martin having been recruited.

With former club captain Alim Ozturk, defender Igor Rossi, strikers Tony Watt and Juanma, and summer signing Robbie Muirhead all leaving in recent days, Cathro has wasted no time in putting his own stamp on Tynecastle since taking over from Robbie Neilson last month.

However, the former Valencia and Newcastle United number two is adamant it has not been his intention to oversee a Jambos revolution.

Speaking ahead of Sunday’s Scottish Cup clash with Raith Rovers at Stark’s Park, he said: “It is not something that necessarily I had a pre-set idea about – like we need this number or that number.

“It was a case of looking at the situation and really trying to manage things on an individual basis and saying ‘how can we improve what we have?’.

“One of the things behind that is we have got guys here who are at a point in their life where they want to be playing and they are not playing.

“With a bit of honesty and a bit of will there, we can create the situation where they can go and play.

“And if somebody goes then somebody has to come. We weren’t a massive squad at that point anyway.

“I don’t feel like we have done a lot. I am aware that we have perhaps done more than other clubs but nothing has been ripped up.

DRASTIC

“It has been individual situations and us trying to do the right thing – always, of course, for the club but sometimes as well for people.

“It really hasn’t been drastic. The number is a higher number than maybe we thought but it has not been a drastic thing.”

Cathro insists he is not interested in signing Michael O’Halloran from Rangers and only went as far as to say that Stevie May is the kind of striker he is seeking to recruit this month.

In his immediate thoughts is a cup tie live on television with Championship opponents he accepts could make life difficult for Hearts.

He added: “I just want to go and win. Everyone is quite clear about what we expect to face.

“We understand how difficult it will be at the start and if we don’t get it right it will get more difficult – and if we do get things right it may become less difficult.

“We are quite clear about what we have to do, what we want to do and we are scratching to get going, really.”

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