Hearts head coach Ian Cathro insists fierce post-derby criticism reinforces why he joined he joined ‘real’ football club



Being berated by a small cluster of Hearts supporters outside Easter Road in the wake of Wednesday’s derby defeat was the worst case scenario for head coach Ian Cathro prior to kick-off.

However, the 30-year-old insists being subjected to that raw emotion in the aftermath of the meek 3-1 Scottish Cup fifth round replay defeat was part of the reason why he was happy to succeed Robbie Neilson in the Tynecastle dugout three months ago.

A handful of Hearts fans waited outside the main entrance to vent their frustrations, but Cathro had been expecting more, such was the manner of the sorry loss.

Hearts will attempt to start the process of making amends for that loss and winning back the fans’ trust in today’s Premiership trip to Patrick Thistle, and the former Newcastle United and Valencia assistant manager insists the ferocity of the backlash only reinforces that he is at a ‘real’ football club.

“It sounds silly to say that that’s why I’m here, but I’m sure you can get my point,” insists the 30-year-old.

“This is a real football club that matters to people. That is the reality of it.

“This is football and people care and games mean something. That is our life.

“It didn’t shock me, I probably expected more of them. I wouldn’t have had a problem with that.

“This is how much football means to me and means to people and we’re in the same position with that.

“There were a couple of people and they were upset and angry. Was it a conversation? A little bit. But there was no problem.

“And it would be worse if fans didn’t care – it just can’t be that way, because we wouldn’t be able to achieve the things we want to achieve.

“It has to matter to people and it has to be real. I’m good with that. People were hurt because of what happened and they should be and I need to deal with that because it happened.

“As assistant you just get on the bus. But I want this, I want all of it, the good, the bad and I want it all to be my responsibility.”


Recent comfortable victories over Rangers and Motherwell had reassured the club’s supporters that the untried Cathro does have attributes to lead Hearts, however, the one-time Dundee United youth coach admits he now has to regain the fans’ trust.

“The situation now is we have got a lot of making up to do,” he remarked.

“What we can’t do is get ourselves back in the Scottish Cup, we can’t beat a team we’re not playing.

“What we have to do is give the people who love the club a clear reason as quickly as possible to trust us.”

Cathro’s confidence in his own ability has not waned following the Hibs set-back.

“A bad moment is usually harder to deal with than a good moment but from a personal point of view I’m probably even more certain than before because we’re living the situation,” he added.

“Have we consistently delivered at the level I would have liked? Everybody knows the answer to that.

“But work goes on and we focus on putting together performances that very quickly regains the trust of the people that love the club.

“That’s the most important thing after nights like that. The relationship of the supporters with the team and the club is what makes a football club, and we’ve caused damage to that. It’s our responsibility to begin fixing it.”