Coach ready for cup showdown
Cathro says fans helped with early ‘frustration’
‘I want players who want pressure’
Hearts head coach Ian Cathro has thanked the fans for staying loyal to the team during a sticky opening to his tenure.
The rookie boss didn’t have the best of starts after replacing Robbie Neilson in December but has managed to turn things around with impressive victories over Rangers and Motherwell in his last two games.
As he prepares for Sunday’s William Hill Scottish Cup showdown with city rivals Hibs at Tynecastle, Cathro has called on those same supporters to crank up the volume when the cup holders come calling.
“It had been an ongoing frustration that we hadn’t been giving people enough reasons to believe,” he said.
“We are thankful that they stayed with us and the relationship with the support was there which we saw in the opening moments of the Rangers game.
“We were always in a strong position among ourselves in relation to what we were going to do and where we were going. The work we were doing was always going to reach a point when it was going to bring rewards.
“We needed that to happen. We have those rewards and it feels good. All that does is it serves as additional motivation to continue what we have been doing.
“We need to make sure we feed off the energy that exists in the stadium and that the players give the fans reasons to lift the noise levels up and vice-versa. The feeling in the stadium is different as it is a special game.”
Cathro brought in a number of players last month and wants his players to mix their desire for victory with cool heads.
“It’s a derby and there are a lot of things which stay similar and there are other things which will never be the same as we all know the environment and build-up is different,” he said.
“It’s been good to have a clean week to prepare for the match with a little bit more time to train, which is a positive for us.
“I want players here who want pressure, who want the responsibility of delivering something that people will remember and want to talk about and brag about.
“We want these days we want big moments and we look forward to being tasked with stepping up and delivering it.
“We brought in more grown-ups who have different experiences in the world who have been through not necessarily this game but similar games.
“As a professional it’s a game of football. As a human being it is a bit more…and we are excited for the game to start.
“We’ll need cool heads and a bit of fire. It is important to be balanced, strong, make good decisions and want to win. It will be a balanced team that wins.”