Hearts goalkeeper Jack Hamilton has thanked Ian Cathro after his head coach refused to hang him out to dry following his Hibernian humiliation.
Now the Tynecastle No 1 has vowed to repay Cathro’s backing by helping Hearts claim victory over Premiership strugglers Hamilton.
The 22-year-old was red-faced last month as his side crashed out of the Scottish Cup at the hands of their bitter rivals. Neil Lennon’s men were better all over the pitch than Hearts but Hamilton bore the brunt of fan frustrations when he let Andrew Shinnie’s shot squirm past him in a resounding 3-0 defeat.
Some supporters called for the Scotland squad keeper to be axed, but Cathro has refused to budge and suggested more needs to be done to boost the confidence of home-grown youngsters.
Now a grateful Hamilton has promised to do all he can to help take the pressure off his head coach, who has come under fire himself after mustering just four wins from his first 15 games in charge.
“It was brilliant of the gaffer to say those things,” he said. “He has got everybody’s back in that changing room. Regardless of which player it is, the gaffer would back them to the hilt. He has been brilliant for us. Now it’s about us trying to go out and repay him by getting a win for him.
“Saturday is a massive game. We’re in fourth spot and European places are up for grabs so it’s a must-win game.”
Hearts showed signs they were finally getting Cathro’s message when they wiped Rangers and Motherwell aside last month.
But the failings which blighted his first month in charge have returned and the Gorgie side are again on a run of five games without a win.
Hamilton, though, does not believe the introduction of nine new players in January is the reason for their struggles.
“I don’t think so,” he said. “We’ve a lot of experience in there. They are top players who have played at top clubs around Europe. They have all added a wee bit to the team. It’s just about trying to gel and trying to get results.
“We’re desperate to prove to everybody, especially the fans, that we were as good as we were against Rangers and Motherwell.”
Hamilton have to move on from last week’s 6-0 cup thrashing by Rangers to concentrate on Premiership survival, according to skipper Michael Devlin, who said: “We can’t afford to dwell. We are not in a strong position in the league.
“We have a few a big games coming up and we need to make sure we do everything we can to get three points in each of those games and make sure we stay in the Premiership. Confidence and belief is still there and we will keep fighting to the last day of the season to make sure we are still in the league.”