Pressure on Tynecastle coach
Cathro feels heat as Hearts exit League Cup
With the Premier League season due to start next weekend Hearts head coach Ian Cathro looks like an early contender for the first managerial casualty after an embarrassing exit from the League Cup.
Yesterday’s defeat at home to Championship club Dunfermline on penalties followed the loss at League Two Peterhead in midweek and left Hearts third in their group.
Cathro, who was appointed in December with Hearts third in the Premiership, insisted he was “comfortable” in what he was doing at Tynecastle.
But the team under-performed after his arrival. They missed out on a place in the Europa League with a fifth-placed finish, and were knocked out of the Scottish Cup by Hibernian.
With a new stand being erected, the early exit from the League Cup is a setback for club owner Ann Budge’s hopes of a new dawn for Tynecastle club. That feeling of renewal has gathered momentum and enabled the club to tap into the latent Hearts support. It expects to sell 14,000 season tickets.
Budge will not want to see the hard work of rescuing and transforming the club undone by poor performances on the pitch.
Hearts supporters demanded Cathro’s removal as they watched their side struggle against a team managed by former Hearts players Allan Johnston and Sandy Clark.
The 2-2 draw forced the game to a penalty shootout, which Dunfermline won 3-1.
Cathro must inject some belief into a team that appears lacking in confidence and threatens to implode if they make a bad start to the campaign.
They have four successive away games at Celtic, Kilmarnock, Rangers and Motherwell. In the last 13 months Hearts have won just five games away from home. Cathro has lost half of his 30 games in charge, winning just eight.
Ian Cathro CV
2008-2012 Dundee United (youth coach)
2012-2014 Rio Ave (assistant)
2014-2015 Valencia (assistant)
2015-2016 Newcastle United (assistant)
2016- Hearts (head coach)