Hearts confirm Ian Cathro as new head coach

Ian Cathro poses after his appointment at Tynecastle
Ian Cathro poses after his appointment at Tynecastle
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Ian Cathro has been appointed head coach of Hearts after agreeing terms on a three-and-a-half-year contract.

The 30-year-old Scot leaves his role as assistant coach at Newcastle United and will begin work at Riccarton tomorrow.

Cathro has previously worked as assistant coach in Portugal with Rio Ave and in Spain with Valencia. He is one of Britain's most highly regarded young coaches and is now taking his first steps in management.

An announcement on his assistant has yet to come, but the Northern Ireland assistant coach Austin MacPhee is the man Hearts want to work with Cathro. The pair are good friends from their days coaching in the Dundee area and share similar ideas on coaching methods.

The move sees Cathro reunited with Hearts director of football Craig Levein, who appointed him head of youth at Dundee United when Cathro was just 22.

"This is a step I’ve wanted to take, one I’ve prepared for and I think the circumstances are perfect. I just want to get to work," Cathro told the Edinburgh club's website.

"What will the fans get? A team that wants to win. A team that when the first whistle goes - irrespective of the circumstances, the opponent, home, away, rain, sun, no matter what - when the first whistle goes we will expect to win. And we will work to find a way in which we believe that we can win.

"We’re going to want to use the ball, we’re going to want to be incredibly energetic, we’ll want to attack and score goals. We want to be aggressive and be as close to the opponent’s goal as we possibly can.

“We’ll make it an exciting place to come. Will it always be perfect? No it won’t. But everybody will be at maximum all the time. It could be an enjoyable ride."

The Hearts owner Ann Budge acclaimed Cathro as the "ideal candidate" to succeed Robbie Neilson as head coach. Neilson and his assistant Stevie Crawford joined MK Dons on Friday.

"We are delighted to have secured the services of Ian Cathro and are confident he is the ideal candidate to take our club forward," Budge told the Hearts website.

"He is widely regarded as one of the brightest young coaches in the game and has amassed a great deal of experience both at home and abroad. He may only be 30 years of age but we are convinced that he has all the tools required to be a successful head coach."

Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez stated that had no intention of standing in Cathro's way given his desire to try management. "I would like to wish Ian the very best success with his first head coach role," the Spaniard told his club's website.

"When a coach has the opportunity and the desire to progress his career in management, it is always very important to allow them the freedom to move on and develop themselves. We all send Ian our good luck for his future and thank him for his good work for Newcastle United.

"We will not be appointing a replacement to Ian in the immediate future. We will take some time now to decide what is best for us, our team, coaching staff and the club."