Hearts head coach Ian Cathro has urged his players to relish difficult challenge of four straight away matches



Hearts head coach Ian Cathro insists his players will relish the challenge of beginning the Premiership season with four successive away matches.

Due to the ongoing redevelopment of the new £12 million main stand at Tynecastle, the Gorgie outfit start the campaign on their travels against Celtic, Kilmarnock, Rangers and Motherwell.

Hearts will not play at home in the league until they host Aberdeen on September 9.

Work is continuing at Tynecastle

East Fife and Dunfermline are the visitors to Tynecastle in the Betfred Cup later this month when three stands will be open and Cathro, whose side’s first competitive game is away to Elgin City on July 18, insists his team will be ready for their demanding start to the top-flight.

He said: “It’s for us to start well, we’ve got a big challenge at the start of the season with the League Cup group that starts on the 18 of July, which is soon and we’ve got two big trips away in that.

“Because of the exciting things that are going on at the club with the development of the new main stand, we’ll play our first four games away from home.

“We want to be ready for that challenge, we want to enjoy that challenge and enjoy the fact that people may think it will be difficult for us.

“And it will be difficult for us but we look forward to being up for that and getting ourselves ready as quickly as we can for it.

“Naturally, you’d rather play at home than away.

“But you’d also rather have everything that is going on at this club.

“There is no negative. It’s all positive, to play in front of a new stand will be great.”

Hearts returned from a week-long training camp across the Irish Sea at the weekend having beaten Linfield 4-1 in Belfast on Saturday.

The Northern Irish champions host Celtic in a Champions League second qualifying round clash on Friday and Cathro insists Linfield face a big challenge in trying to upset Brendan Rodgers’ side.

He added: “It will be a difficult game, Celtic are a good team.

“I’m sure it will be competitive for a number of reasons.

“After that its for those two clubs to play out. I may watch but it’s not something I’m overly interested in.”