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Cathro: A young man with a lot of thinking to do

I have a theory ... or, at least, I HAD a theory.

Anybody who knows me will tell you that, in terms of the build-up to Edinburgh Derbies I am, and always have been, incredibly pessimistic.  Yesterday was no different.  As usual, I told anybody who would listen that I saw us exiting the Scottish Cup at Easter Road last night but, this time, although still feeling the worst, I allowed myself a little hope.

That theory was the cause of my hope ... it will now be filed away under Don't be so bloody stupid, this is Hearts you are talking about.

My thinking was this...

  • 'Maybe Ian Cathro is a guy who, when it comes to some teams, is going to need to play against them once, in order to draw up tactics to beat them?'
  • 'Raw stats and observations from DVDs and scouting reports are one thing, maybe he needs to see his guys up against opponents to find weaknesses?'

 My evidence for those possibilities was the recent(ish) games against Rangers and Raith Rovers.

In Cathro's first game in charge, we were on the end of a comprehensive 2-0 defeat at Ibrox.  By the time we played them again at Tynecastle, the boys in maroon absolutely mauled Mark Warburton's side 4-1, in truth it could have been much worse for the men from Glasgow.

With Raith, a scrappy draw in Kirkaldy was the result of Cathro's first experience of them.  Again, business was taken care of in Gorgie.  The fact that it took until extra time to dispose of them, I put down to pitch conditions added to that extra bit of fight and niggle that you usually recieve when playing lower league sides.  But the bottom line was that Cathro was now two for two in terms of finding a way to win at the second attempt.

So, up popped my theory.  It was always a bit of a long-shot but it gave me that tiny bit of hope for the return fixture against Hibs.

"Maybe the mistake has been us overestimating the stage we are at as a team."

I, much like Mr Cathro himself, seem to have overestimated the stage Hearts are at as a team ... including, it would seem, the management team.  "Maybe the mistake has been us overestimating the stage we are at as a team." said our young manager.

No shit, Sherlock.

Cathro made all the right noises in the aftermath of last night's debacle.  He knows the fan's are hurting.  He knows that HE has to do something about it.  Before the game, his media comments seemed a touch over-confident.  After the final whistle, those comments were laid bare as being HUGELY over-confident.

Now though, Cathro has bigger problems.  In some sections of the Hearts support, previous manager, Robbie Neilson never recovered from last season's loss against Hibs in the same competition.  Part of that may have been in respect of those same fans being able to stomach the fact that Hibs defeated us on thier way to ending their 114 year cup hoodoo.  Regardless of the eventual winner of this season's competition, our latest manager finds himself in a very similar situation.

I, like all Hearts fans and, a fair old number of fans outside our club, hoped for Cathro to get of to the best possible start as Hearts manager: to be able to build a sucessful managerial career from strong foundations laid in his first days, weeks and months in the Tynecastle hot seat.

Clearly, good wins against Kilmarnock, Rangers and Mothrwell aside, that hasn't happened.  Much like the current works on McLeod Street, Ian Cathro is now, very much, having to re-build.

Right, everybody calm the f*ck down ... I've got this!

I am under no illusions that Cathro will be given as much time as possible under the stewardship of Ann Budge and Craig Levein - they are trying to build something bigger, looking far further into the future than most fans ever will.  BUT... make no mistake, the pressure from the fans is very much now on.

And that gives me genuine cause for concern.

When he first arrived at the club, under the glare of the sports media and, some rather unsavoury comments from those within the Scottish game, Cathro stated that "Nothing gets to me."  Clearly, in terms of those comments and that media lens, that is a great strength to have.  However, if genuinely nothing gets to him, will he be able to muster enough fire in his belly to go in, all guns blazing, and sort out the lazy, sloppy attitude displayed by those players who, oh so meekly, surrendered in Lochend last night?

His after-match comments give me some hope (there's that pesky damn word again) that he will.

Will Cathro's new foundations be as strong as the ones currently being laid for the club's new main stand?  I guess we'll get the answers to that question in the coming weeks and months ... starting on Saturday against Partick Thistle.

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