Hearts head coach Ian Cathro reckons his players answered their critics after collecting a first win in six matches in Saturday’s convinving 4-0 victory over Hamilton.
A timid Scottish Cup loss to city rivals Hibs and Premiership set backs at the hands of Partick Thistle and Ross County left Cathro having to defend his nine January imports against accusations that they lack fight for the Scottish game.
Forthcoming matches against second and first, Aberdeen and Celtic, in the Premiership will be the real litmus test for the new look Hearts team but Cathro reckons the weekend’s emphatic victory silenced some of their detractors.
“Anybody at the game on Saturday would understand that we can play football and that also we can fight.
“I think a scoreline like this has been a long time coming, you look back to the last two home games we’ve had (against Inverness and County, and there were maybe key moments in the game that swung it against us.
“Equally, those performance were of such, that it could have been this result.
“I think we pushed a little bit harder on Saturday, for sure every single player went to their maximum, which was important in keeping us dominant throughout and ultimately the result had reflected in the work of all the players.
“The clean sheet was also was very important, that we had a dominant performance defensively without the ball as well.”
Cathro admits his side can now look forward with optimism ahead of demanding back-to-back matches against the Dons and Celtic – teams they have failed to beat so far this term.
He added: “The next two games are good opportunities against opponents at the top of the league, where we have to be fighting and competing, show our strength, show our quality. We look forward to do it.”
Cathro, meanwhile, admits central midfielder Alexandro Tziolis was a stand out against Accies after watching the Greece internationalist pull the strings for the hosts.
He added: “He brings quality as do other players in the team, decision making in important times that gives us that start in the game.
“And from that point we can play and can open up and become a dominant team. We can improve on a lot of those things.
“He showed a good performance as did many, many others.”