Hearts head coach Ian Cathro praised his players for taking their frustration out on Rangers on a historic night at Tynecastle.
The 4-1 win over the Ibrox visitors was only the second league victory of Cathro’s nine game reign. But he has already made his mark by leading Hearts to their biggest victory over Rangers at Tynecastle since 1956.
A double from man of the match Jamie Walker and goals from Krystian Nowak and Don Cowie gave Hearts a handsome win over a Rangers side who crumbled in the second-half. Hearts avoided the threat of going 14 points behind the second-placed Ibrox side in comprehensive style.
Afterwards Cathro saluted his players for the way they sustained the high-tempo performance throughout the 90 minutes, with new signing Esmael Goncalves leading the line in impressive fashion.
“I am pleased we have more balance and options to manage the game better,” he said. “We were together, strong, fighting and pushing to keep on top. Good teams want to stay on top.
The 30-year-old was glad recent criticism had not weighed his players down. Indeed, they used last night as a blood-letting exercise. He added: “Sometimes it [the criticism] hurts, but we stayed strong collectively, and I enjoyed seeing the players enjoy themselves, and letting it all out. It’s out now.”
“I never had any doubts but what frustrated me was that some fans had not seen that [level of performance], and were having to take my word for it. The longer that goes on, the more difficult it is.”
Asked if he had complaints at all on a night when everything seemed to go Hearts’ way, he quipped: “Yes, it would have been better had it [the performance] come in my very first game!”
Cathro’s difficulties have now transferred to Mark Warburton, who finds himself under further pressure. The visiting fans jeered his decision to substitute Emerson Hyndman, who had scored Rangers’ equaliser. Warburton said: “Disappointment is an understatement. To give a goal away after three minutes at Tynecastle is a schoolboy error.
“We are Rangers Football Club, we don’t lose 4-1,” he added. “But we did tonight. You have to be frustrated, absolutely. But we do it together. I am not going to sit here and dig out individual players. We do it together.
“We have got be better together. We weren’t and there are no excuses. We weren’t good enough second half.”