Rookie Hearts boss Ian Cathro admits managing the Tynecastle side has been tougher than he expected.
The former Valencia and Newcastle coach was Hearts’ director of football Craig Levein’s bold choice to replace Robbie Neilson. But so far the 30-year-old has struggled to get his message over to his squad.
Despite being given the green light to make nine January signings, Hearts have continued to stagger under the Dundonian, winning just four of his first 15 games in charge.
That has prompted the critics who questioned his appointment in the first place to sharpen their blades and Cathro, pictured, admits his first three months in the job have involved a steep learning curve.
Asked if he had found the job more difficult that he had first imagined, he said: “There is nobody in the world who could sit in this chair in this moment and, based on the run of results we’ve had, say no to that question.
“Was my expectation for things to come this way? No it wasn’t.”
Convincing wins over Rangers and Motherwell at the start of February suggested the tide had turned, but since then Hearts have gone five games without victory.
Cathro added: “A lot of times, the games in this league can make it more difficult for us to dominate play the way that we want to.
“For example, we’ve had situations where we’ve made an error or missed chances and as the game goes on there is maybe some anxieties or frustrations and if we go behind, it becomes more difficult.
“That’s the same in every league in the world but maybe more so here because you have every single team in the league who fight and scrap right until the very end, teams who are happy to defend with ten men and who will attack very direct.”