Hearts captain: Ian Cathro has a real presence about him

Hearts skipper Perry Kitchen insists the age of new head coach Ian Cathro is irrelevant as the 30-year-old prepares for his first game in charge against Rangers on Saturday.
Ian Cathro became Hearts head coach earlier this week. Picture: SNSIan Cathro became Hearts head coach earlier this week. Picture: SNS
Ian Cathro became Hearts head coach earlier this week. Picture: SNS

Much has been made of the inexperience of the former Newcastle United assistant since he was confirmed as successor to Robbie Neilson on Monday.

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Cathro has never played or managed at the highest level and there will be plenty of attention on his first game at Ibrox.

Kitchen, however, has been impressed by his new boss, whose number two is Northern Ireland assistant manager Austin MacPhee, in his first few days in charge and believes ability rather than age is key.

The 24-year-old former DC United midfielder said: “The first time he came into the dressing room there was a presence about him.

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“His ideas, the way he goes about managing the guys, tiny details, just in the past three days has been, from my point of view, pretty impressive so again, age is just a number, I wouldn’t look into that.

“Just meeting him, seeing what he is about and Austin as well, I would definitely say he is the right man for the job.

“The guys are adjusting as quickly as we can. The sessions have been sharp and we are focused for the weekend.

“In MLS especially, there is plenty of young coaches.

“My coach there, Ben Olson did a great with us and it was his first professional job as head coach.

“And again, if you have knowledge about the game and you are suitable for the job it is not an issue.”

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Kitchen revealed that Cathro, who has had spells as assistant at Portuguese club Rio Ave and Valencia in Spain, has no desire to stray far from the path the club was on with Neilson, who left for MK Dons, taking with him assistant Stevie Crawford.

The United States international said: “He just said it is obviously a tricky situation in terms of it is not as if Robbie and Stevie were fired.

“So they are coming into a good situation.

“And that was what he reiterated. He is not here to blow things up as it might have been had Robbie been fired, he is here to continue and build on what we have here and I think they are definitely going to do that.”

Hearts beat Rangers 2-0 at Tynecastle at the end of November in what turned out to be Neilson’s last game in charge.

Kitchen expects a tougher test in Govan but is looking for a similar outcome

“We are certainly shooting for the same result,” he said.

“We know it is going to be a different match over there. They are going to be better than they were against us at Tynecastle.

“We expect that and have to be able to match that and try to mimic a similar result.

“It is always a big game against Rangers and we are going to be ready for it.”