Hearts’ Ian Cathro hails influence of Rafa Benitez on his career

Ian Cathro says he learned a lot from Rafael Benitez. Picture: SNS.
Ian Cathro says he learned a lot from Rafael Benitez. Picture: SNS.
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Hearts head coach Ian Cathro admits Rafael Benitez remains a major and active influence on his career.

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The pair will be reunited tonight when Hearts face Sky Bet Championship winners Newcastle United in a friendly, seven months after Cathro left the Spaniard’s backroom team to take over at Tynecastle.

But they have been in contact during Cathro’s difficult start in management, which has seen him record just six victories in 26 matches.

The 31-year-old former Valencia coach said: “We have stayed in touch and caught up in the summer about a number of things. He is someone who has a tremendous level of experience and someone who wants to support people. He’s a good man.

“It was a short period of time that we were together. I have had a lot of big experiences and worked with a lot of people who come from the top level of the game, which is something we tend to forget. But I don’t.

“I learned a lot about managing what was a very difficult situation when he arrived at Newcastle and the process he went through in reshaping the squad and the team and the attitudes of everyone around the club.

“I mean literally everyone around the club... and creating a really united front for what everybody needed to do last season to achieve what they needed to achieve.

“Living through that and being a part of that work was a positive experience and something which I even called upon when we were starting to look at what we needed to do here, when we started to do that work around February time.

“Having freshly lived through a similar situation, of course it helps when you call upon your experiences and support you get from people who actually know what they are talking about and tend not to pay too much attention to people who don’t.”

l St Mirren have brought in midfielder Ian McShane from Ross County. The former Queen of the South midfielder has signed a two-year contract after County agreed to terminate his Dingwall deal.

l Inverness Caledonian Thistle have signed former Celtic and Motherwell defender Joe Chalmers on a two-year deal. Chalmers, 23, is a former Scotland Under-21 international.

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