On a day of special significance for the club, Hearts’ hopes of giving their 103-year-old main stand a positive send-off fell flat after goals from Adam Rooney and Anthony O’Connor handed Aberdeen all three points.
Esmael Goncalves’s header just after the hour mark restored parity but the Hearts supporters’ joy was short lived. O’Connor’s header three minutes later has all but secured second place for Aberdeen.
Hearts were level-pegging on points with the Pittodrie club when Cathro was appointed in December but their respective paths have veered far apart since then. Aberdeen are now 24 points ahead of Hearts, who are in fifth place.
“The fans have the right to be unhappy and frustrated and they are,” said Cathro. “They are disappointed and angry.
“The results that are normal to Hearts haven’t been achieved.”
Cathro was a target for some booing when the players and staff returned after the final whistle to greet the few fans still there on the occasion of the last home game of the season.
The head coach had also come under fire when replacing skipper Don Cowie with striker Bjorn Johnsen midway through the second-half. The statistic showing Hearts as having had only one shot on target was pointed out to him afterwards.
“I imagine you’ve looked at the stats; I haven’t done that yet. We will assume you are correct and congratulate you on that,” he said.
Of the fans’ spiky response when Cowie was replaced and towards him personally at the end, Cathro added: “It’s a situation where I understand these things. What I am saying is that whatever situation you’re in, you have to take it, you have to front it up. I have to take you telling me we only had one shot on target because it is true.
“You have to stand up and take those things if you also want to be the guy who stands there when things turn and the feeling is completely different. I hope that the fans enjoy it when it turns and clap as loud and shout as loud and it’s for a different reason.”