Christophe Berra signing '˜a real signal of Hearts' intent'

Ian Cathro reckons the capture of returning club captain Christophe Berra proves Hearts have serious intent for next season.
Hearts have announced the installation of Christophe Berra as new club captain. Picture: Ian GeorgesonHearts have announced the installation of Christophe Berra as new club captain. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Hearts have announced the installation of Christophe Berra as new club captain. Picture: Ian Georgeson

The Scotland defender on Tuesday rejoined the club where he started his career and was immediately handed the armband he had previously held before moving south for spells with Wolves and Ipswich.

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And Cathro has revealed he hopes the 32-year-old will be the first of many notable arrivals this summer.

The Jambos boss has already binned six of the summer signings who failed badly during his miserable first six months in charge.

Now the Tynecastle head coach has declared he has major plans to dramatically overhaul his squad.

He said: “This is the start of the building of the new team and we’re serious - we’re serious.

“We have to continue doing our work but we’re very serious about what we intend on doing.

“Nothing has changed from day one to this day apart from the fact we’re further down the line and we’re more prepared. We have a better understanding of exactly what we have to bring and how we have to address the re-balance of the team.

“So we’re in a more informed position. This is just the first step, a very important step, and I’m delighted Christophe is here.

“It’s important that we’re able to bring the level of player that he is to the club. He’s a player who is completely ready in his stage of life. He’s already been through countless experiences.

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What Hearts will be getting in returning defender Christophe Berra
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“He’s ready to be a key part and one of the leaders inside I would call a new team for the next step in the club’s development.”

Berra’s addition is a boost for a squad who collected fewer points than relegated Inverness in the period after Cathro’s December appointment.

The rookie boss has faced question marks over his leadership abilities but the centre-back insists he has no doubts about his new boss.

“I’ve heard good things about Ian,” he said. “I’ve spoken to players who knew him at Newcastle, guys like Steven Taylor, and all they only had good things to say.

“Obviously it’s been an up-and-down season and there’s been a lot of negatives portrayed through the press. But there has also been a lot of progress made at the pitch that you will only notice if you’re a manager or a coach.

“There’s a lot to work on, don’t get me wrong, but with the right players on the pitch and the way the manager works, we’ve got a right chance.”

Berra confirmed he rejected overtures from Rangers in order to return for a second Gorgie spell.

And now he wants to end his career with his hometown club after helping them recover from this season’s slump.

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He said: “I don’t have an agent but my old agent mentioned there had been some interest from Rangers but there was never anything on the table.

“To be honest I always wanted to come back here. I’m from Edinburgh and I know what the club means to the Hearts fans.

“Even when I left Hearts and was playing down in England I’d always watch the derby games and miss them.

“I always had it in my mind I’d like to finish my career here and hopefully I’ve now got the opportunity.

“Hopefully we’re going to get some good players in this summer. I want to get back to cup finals and to challenge at the top end of the table.

“We all know it’s difficult to topple Celtic at the moment but we want to be challenging Aberdeen and Rangers to get back to where we belong, qualifying for Europe.

“I’ve had conversations to the manager and it’s very exciting. We’ve got a vision so now it’s about getting the right players on the pitch who can carry that out.”