BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
IAN CATHRO was left “inspired” after seeing Hearts’ new £12 million main stand start to take shape this week. Now the Tynecastle head coach is determined to lavish supporters with a team worthy of what promises to be an imposing arena.
Work on the structure, which will see the capacity of their Gorgie home increased to more than 20,000, accelerated this week with the erection of the steel frame, affording a genuine idea of the scale of the project.
Cathro, himself, was at Tynecastle in midweek for a Junior Jambos signing session and, walking past the impressive skeleton, he could not help but be enthused by the future.
“It’s great to see it starting to take shape now, it makes it feel a bit more real,” he smiled. “You start to envisage the main stand rising up, you can see it’s still going to be close to the pitch.
“It’s massively inspiring to me, as we build a squad here.
“That’s one of the biggest reasons why this was the right step for me to take – because of the ambition that exists, the investment in the infrastructure and the desire for this club to grow. We’re not settling for just doing ‘okay’, we want it to grow.
“At the moment we’re in a situation where we’re not doing that, in terms of delivering the results we need to deliver, but that is something to address in short term whilst working on all the other aspects so that we are ready to take the next step.
“We want the pressure of pushing higher.”
With the post-split Premiership fixtures announced yesterday, it was confirmed that Hearts will play their final match in front of their iconic 103-year-old Archibald Leitch-designed main stand when Aberdeen visit Tynecastle on May 7.
That will be followed by away trips to Rangers, St Johnstone and Celtic in an onerous run-in, which could be seen as a cause for concern for a side who have won just three Premiership games away from home all season.
Rectifying that statistic at Rugby Park tonight would be a welcome step towards allaying those fears.
“We need to be strong and make the right decisions. Sometimes it’s a little psychological bit you have to step past.
“I can only really reflect on the games in which I’ve been here, and I don’t look at any and think we didn’t win because we were away. It was more about what’s gone on during the game and us needing to perform better in certain parts.
“It’s never something I am overly obsessed with. It can’t be too big a story for us.”
Hearts then start their league campaign next term with a series of fixtures on the road, while aiming to have their new main stand open for business by September 9.
“We will miss Tynecastle,” Cathro added. “I will miss it and I’m just getting to know the place! It’s a great place to be tasked with winning games of football.
“But I’m not stressed about starting the season with games away from home. We will just be looking forward to getting back to playing in front of even more people at Tynecastle, who are demanding that we win.”
Cathro, who will be without Sam Nicholson and Aaron Hughes this evening due to suspension and injury respectively, also addressed the lengthy statement released by Hearts owner Ann Budge on Wednesday, among a myriad topics, pledged her unwavering support to the head coach.
He added: “We speak a lot so there was nothing new to me in the statement. We have regular dialogue about a whole number of things and that’s one of the things that’s really refreshing about the club – the communication and transparency.”