Hearts boss admits stopping Celtic from becoming Premiership invincibles will be no cause for celebration



Hearts head coach Ian Cathro insists preventing Celtic from becoming Premiership invincibles on the final day of the season will not make up for a disappointing start to his tenure in the dugout.

The end of the campaign cannot come soon enough for Hearts, with the Tynecastle outfit slipping from second to fifth in the league with a run of six wins in 25 matches since the 30-year-old replaced Robbie Neilson in December.

In contrast, the treble-chasing Hoops have enjoyed a flawless domestic campaign so far and will attempt to go through the entire league season unbeaten when they host Hearts at Parkhead tomorrow on trophy presentation day.

And former Newcastle Untied and Valencia assistant manager Cathro insists being the first team to inflict a defeat on Brendan Rodgers’ side will not be a cause for celebration.

He said: “For me it would be nice to win the game but there is nothing that can happen that will involve me feeling great at full time on Sunday. It will be further down the line before any of us feel great.

“It’s a nice game to look forward to. A difficult day with everything around it but we won’t get much at the end of it. We might feel better, but nobody will feel great.

“For us to have a chance to do what we want to do we need to be really efficient. The chance to end the unbeaten run will be an incentive for some players – nobody likes being an uninvited guest at someone else’s party, which is basically what these days can often be.

“The only thing we’ll try and not do is entirely focus on stopping Celtic but there is a vast difference just now and you can’t hide from that.

“They are an excellent team. They can adapt, they can do different things and they can do it very quickly. The first bit is stopping them but also with the idea and attitude to want to go and be able to compete against them.

“They are not often asked to defend for prolonged periods because they do so well in possession. It’s about us being able to try and hit attacks more often and be aggressive in our attitude to try and do that.”

Cathro, meanwhile, has played down reports of a half-time tunnel bust-up with striker Bjorn Johnsen during Wednesday’s 1-0 defeat at St Johnstone.

The American striker trained alongside the rest of his team-mates yesterday and is in contention for tomorrow’s match.

Cathro added: “Nothing happened in the tunnel apart from us walking through it.

“Bjorn trained and trained well. I saw some of that (report) and a lot of that was incorrect.

“We spoke after the game, there were a lot of us not particularly pleased with 20 to 25 minutes towards the end of that first half.

“For that reason, we were not happy about it. From the sense of how that is developed into a bit of story, I’m not really sure why?

“Bjorn has trained well and he is focussed and ready to be available to play on Sunday.”

Hearts winger Jamie Walker, meanwhile, has been hugely impressed with Celtic’s campaign.

He said: “I think it says a lot about them, to go through a whole season up to now and not lose one game is pretty incredible.

“They went into the Champions League and held their own against teams like Manchester City as well.

“It shows they are a good side – and they’ll only get better.

“We’ve had a disappointing campaign so if we were to go to Celtic Park and end their run it would be fantastic.”