Ian Cathro said it would be wrong to look at Hearts transfer dealings and claim that there have been drastic changes to the squad he inherited from Robbie Neilson almost two months ago, or that it is preventing the advancement of the club’s young players.
“No, I think drastic would have been doing it if it wasn’t necessary,” he said, defending the mass movement in which nine new faces have been added to playing personnel. “We were short, we needed to bring in players, and also players left. The bigger concern for me would have been had we not done what we’ve done and arrived at last night and felt lacking in options because we need them.”
In the final day of dealings, the club loaned out Conor Sammon to Kilmarnock and added Dario Zanatta (Queen’s Park) and Robbie Buchanan (Cowdenbeath) to the lengthy list of youngsters temporarily farmed out in the hope of gaining regular competitive football. Combine that with the five first-team squad members who moved on during the month, and the fact that other automatic picks, Callum Paterson (knee) and John Souttar (Achilles) have been ruled out by long-term injury, the arrival of so many newcomers makes more sense, he said.
“Now we are in a position where we can feel more comfortable with the options we have, with the balance that is inside the squad.
“We’ve put ourselves in the market to get good players, naturally those good players have other options. So part of the process is convincing them that the right thing is to come here. Sometimes it is not easy. So that’s resulted in it being later in the month and three players arriving in the one day. But these things have been a work in progress for some time.
“We need to be able to change games, we need to be able to play differently, we need to be able to be flexible. Not only do you need numbers to be able to do that but you need guys with slightly different qualities, a slightly different way of doing the same thing. That, coupled with every single player needing to have a lot of hunger or fight and be at a point in his life where, for whatever reason, he’s got to make it work.
“This doesn’t close any doors to our young players. It does mean that they need to work even harder to become better.”