Ian Cathro believes his team are going to have to find a way to dictate games if they want to get the boo boys off their back – and insists they can do that by rising above the chaos that sometimes engulfs Scottish games.
The Hearts manager’s home debut did not go to plan on Saturday, a 1-1 draw with bottom-of-the-table Partick Thistle compounding the misery of losing to Rangers in his first match, and the fans made no secret of the disappointment
Booing had greeted the decision to substitute first-half goalscorer Bjorn Johnsen midway through the second period, and those howls of derision only intensified at the final whistle, as the fans made it clear that they expect better from their team.
Cathro said the reception was a natural reaction to what they had witnessed, adding he would be more concerned if everyone was fine with the club drawing games at home.
But he also said that the players had to find a way to rise above the nervousness and the mayhem in matches.
“We were forced to change some things. We had to play differently and that resulted in the game being very, very broken. A little bit of Scottish chaos. Some anxiety, some nervousness, some mistakes as well. At that point it becomes a really difficult cycle to be able to break that. That is what the second half was,” he said of a game his men had led and looked comfortable in until Partick Thistle came back at them early in the second half, the hurly burly of the play and the tension in the ground manifesting itself in that “broken” display.
“There is always that aspect of the nature of the game here, the culture of the game. There is always one team who is leading the game. If you’re leading the game then you get to determine the flow and the rhythm and the position of the players and so on.
“And if we had managed to do that the game would have been the way we wanted it to be. We start to become the dictator. Of course it is more easy to do if the other team tries to do the same thing against you because it stays in an organised way. Maybe here that is less likely to be the case every week.”
But with several years of coaching on the continent, working with players in Portugal and then at Valencia, in Spain, Cathro said he is unlikely to succumb to the chaos.
“I’ll never believe football to be that way. We still have to do the things we believe are right to have more likelihood of winning. And that’s what we’ll do.”