Ian Cathro: No need to '˜freak out' over director of football

The director of football/head coach model of management should not be treated like 'some crazy thing is coming into town', according to Ian Cathro.
Hearts head coach Ian Cathro works with director of football Craig Levein at Tynecastle. Picture: SNSHearts head coach Ian Cathro works with director of football Craig Levein at Tynecastle. Picture: SNS
Hearts head coach Ian Cathro works with director of football Craig Levein at Tynecastle. Picture: SNS

The most high-profile set-up of that kind in Scottish football is at Hearts, where Cathro is head coach and Craig Levein director of football.

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That type of structure, which is more prevalent on the continent and south of the border, has been subject to some debate since Rangers announced they were looking to implement a new blueprint at the Ibrox club which involves both following the departure of manager Mark Warburton last Friday.

The Gorgie boss, preparing for the visit of struggling Inverness on Saturday, gave his take on the issue.

He said: “I have not noticed what exactly the debate is, but, if there is debate about it, it is probably because you don’t understand it.

“Ultimately it is a model of how a football club is run.

“There is a model like this, a model like that. Pick one and get on with it.

“Some clubs will operate slightly differently in what a director of football does.

“Some clubs will operate with just a head of recruitment which takes a focus on just those things.

“(At) some clubs (the) director is more in the business, some are more in the football, it will always be slightly different.

“But it is like many things when something is new here.

“We all freak out and throw our toys all over the place and get scared as if it is a witch hunt and some crazy thing is coming into town that we don’t understand and it is not.

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“It is football. It is 2017. Football is big business, it is completely normal.

“I don’t think football will ever be entirely the same in every club.

“But there is just a lack of understanding and experience of that model in our country and obviously we know best about our game and so on.

“I think debate comes from the lack of understanding.”

Inverness are three points adrift of Hamilton at the bottom of the table and travel to Gorgie on the back of a 6-0 thrashing at runaway leaders Celtic last week.

Cathro believes that Richie Foran’s men “will come and fight for their lives”.

He said: “It is a difficult feeling when you are down at that bottom end and fighting through what they are fighting through.

“But sometimes that gives that team and these players that extra power, that extra thing to fight for and it can make them strong

“And they will be strong and they will fight hard and it will be very difficult for that reason. We need to respect that and be really ready for it.”

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The Tynecastle pitch was criticised following the William Hill Scottish Cup fifth-round goalless draw against Edinburgh rivals Hibernian last week and Cathro accepts that conditions could play a part against the Highlanders.

He said: “We have to continue to try to do the things that we want to do, whilst being practical and flexible to the situation,

“We know it is not in the condition that we would like it to be in and of course it will have an effect, no one will pretend that it doesn’t.

“We have to be us and maybe with an extra pragmatism.”