BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
HEARTS head coach Ian Cathro has joked that the toughest challenge incoming Rangers boss Pedro Caixinha will face is finding a decent espresso when the sun goes down in Glasgow.
Caixinha is set to be appointed as Mark Warburton’s successor at Ibrox this week in a move that has been labelled a gamble by the likes of Kris Boyd, Derek Ferguson and Andy Walker, given his lack of experience in British football.
Having worked for two years in Portugal with Rio Ave, Cathro is acutely aware that the former União Leiria and Nacional de Madeira boss will be forced to adjust to a plethora of changes, from the often industrial style of football to the hungry media landscape in Scotland.
“The fact life ends here at 5pm will be a change for someone used to Portugal,” smiled Cathro. “It’s difficult to go somewhere and have a really good Espresso at eight or nine o’clock at night!
“If you don’t cram in everything you need to do here before 5 o’clock here you’ve had it. There is no more life after that time.
“The ball being in the sky a little bit more often takes some getting used to as well. In every game of football in this league – if you take away a couple that involve Celtic – you are going to have a prolonged bit of the game that is a scrap, a fight, with lots of fouls that stop play.
“But, really, a lot of the time it’s simple life things that you need to adjust to. Life is
“I would say the media scrutiny is probably similar, but in Portugal you have three daily newspapers about football and they talk more about football. Everyone is talking tactics and more technical things. Here, we are more headline and story driven.”
Cathro has also experienced the feeling of arriving as an untested foreigner in a new land from his time in Portugal and Spain, and expects some onlookers to view Caixinha with a healthy does of cynicism.
Nevertheless, he sees no reason the Gers’ boss-in-waiting – who has already adapted to the Gulf, Romania, Greece and Mexico – cannot confound the critics, adjust to his new surroundings and prove a success.
“Most people who come here from outside have already been to other places. These guys (like Caixinha) are ready to deal with these things. They can handle it.”
Another hurdle Caixinha will face, however, is attempting to rebuild the Gers while coping with the constant demand for victories.
It is a challenge Cathro has found tough, winning just four of his 15 matches in charge since replacing Robbie Neilson in December, one of those being an extra-time victory over Championship side Raith Rovers.
He undoubtedly has long term aspirations to dominate possession, play attractive football and win with style – however, ahead of tomorrow’s fixture against Hamilton, he acknowledges that immediate results are imperative.
“We are living day by day because we have to,” added Cathro. “I cannot show the arrogance to be looking into next season and other things. That is not right.
“You need to win games now and show people that we can deal with the things, perform at the level that we need to be at and where this football club needs to be at. Our work should involve us making progress all the time.”
With nine days since their last match – a 1-0 defeat at home to Ross County – the Hearts players have endured double training sessions and enjoyed the opportunity to bond as a squad by going out for a meal in the capital.
And Cathro has dismissed the suggestion that there is a lack of unity or fight within a group that saw nine additions in January.
“I didn’t get an invite to the dinner! But they are good professionals, good people, and desperate for us to find quick solutions so we can wipe away some of the things we are currently feeling.
“There is no concern about [a lack of togetherness] at all.”