First Team

Ian looks ahead

3rd January 2017

The Head Coach reflects on his first games in charge, goals for 2017 and the January transfer window.

Ian Cathro insists he has a clear idea of what type of team he wants to build at Hearts but believes patience will be key during this transfer window.

Following a hectic period of festive fixture, the arrival of the winter break will now enable Ian and his staff to fully assess the squad and decide what business needs to be done in the month ahead.    

Speaking exclusively to Hearts TV, the Head Coach reflected on his first weeks in charge of the Jambos, his goals for the year ahead and what January may hold in store in terms of transfers.

On the first five games…

“My feeling on the situation is that we should probably be sitting with five more points than what we currently have.

“I think we had reached positions in games where it shouldn’t have resulted in a draw or a loss. Ultimately I accept responsibility for that.

“Because of that, however, I’ve been able to learn more about the team than what I would normally do in such a short period of time.

“It’s up to us now to learn from those things and ensure we move on quickly.

“We’ know how we want to play going forward. The idea is that the style will help us win more games and be in control of more games on a consistent basis.”

On the importance of starting well…

“Starting games well is critical. The initial battle in any game always consists of the two teams trying to force on to the other how they want the game to be.

“As a team we have to win the fight in those early stages. It’s not necessarily a physical battle, it’s about the decision making and quality of passes early on.

“Whenever we’ve won the initial part of the game I believe we’ve looked in control. We’ve had the quality to dominate for long parts of the game, which was particularly evident against Dundee.

“It wasn’t quite as fluent against Kilmarnock but there were other aspects of that game that were very encouraging.

On January…

“The winter and summer transfer windows are really different. Trying to do really important pieces of business in January is quite difficult.

“You tend to be limited to players who perhaps haven’t had the best start to the season. That leaves you with a tougher decision to make with regards to whether they’re right for the club.

“The summer window is when we’ll have the real chance of doing things that truly make a difference. For now, however, we need to calmly analyse the market.

“We have a clear idea of where we want to go and what type of qualities we’re looking to add to the team.

“So we need to take it day by day and try to get the right deals done.

“Will players leave in January? I think it’s a possibility. You have some guys here who want to be playing, that’s the same at every club but not everyone has the opportunity to play regularly.”

On the fans…

“The fans are essential when it comes to helping us achieve what we want. We will do this together.

“I’m here because this club isn’t your run of the mill football club. There’s a real connection here.

“The fans pack this stadium out. Sometimes it’s full of life and it’s throwing the whole team forward, other times it can remind us that we’re not performing.

“That’s something I’m very comfortable with. I’m pleased that’s the case because we all need to be reminded that we have a responsibility here.

“Not only do we have a responsibility to maintain the standard set here, but also to push the club on and be able to reach a point where we can maybe go a bit further.

“I’ve no fear about saying that hey, we want to go somewhere and we really need you to come along for the ride.”

On New Year resolutions…

“First of all it’s important to look back at all the good work that’s taken place here. Ann, Craig and Robbie came in two and a half years ago and done some excellent work.

“The club is now back to where it was before and it’s now up to me to take leadership on where we go next.

“I don’t want to just perform to the levels we’re historically used to. I want us to push further, to play a little bit better and nudge ourselves a bit higher.

“Sometimes when you push yourself you encounter more difficulties as you try to get through it. The only important thing in a situation like that is that you keep going, you can’t stop in the middle of it.

“I won’t stop. When the difficulties come in that phase I’ll hold my hands up, but we’ll keep going.”