Ian Cathro was pleased with his side’s performance in the final pre-season friendly of the summer as Hearts fell to a narrow defeat at home to Newcastle.
A Dwight Gayle doubled, sandwiched by a Jamie Walker goal and an Isma Goncalves penalty miss, gave the Toon Army a 2-1 victory to take back down the A1 in a highly entertaining and competitive encounter.
“It was a good quality, high performance work out,” said Ian. “It was a real positive, exactly what we needed. It’s good for the players to have that level of competition against a good side.
“Our plan is for us to become a good side too, but we’re in the middle of work to get us there, so there were some really positive moments to go along with it.”
The match was the first to take place in front of the frame of the towering new Main Stand, as building work continues, and Ian highlighted the symbolic significance of what the game represented.
“If anyone was unsure, we now know things are changing and growing, and it means we have the strange situation of four away games to start the season.
“We need to be excited by the challenge of getting through those games, so we can fill this place when we get to the end of that run of games.”
As Hearts complete their pre-season campaign, the Head Coach admitted his contentment at how the matches had gone, ahead of Tuesday’s Betfred Cup encounter with Elgin City.
“I’ve been really pleased by the make up of the games we’ve played. We had to fit it into a shorter period of time, but we picked the correct fixtures and we’re now more ready for competition. “
Ian also took the time to praise Jamie Walker, who won the man of the match award from the sponsors as he put in a starring performance in front of a crowd of over 10,000 fans.
“Walker is a strong character within himself and he’s a real talent who I want to support. He can make real progress.
“He’s part of my team that’s progressing, and growing, and we want his qualities in the side as he remains part of the team.”
Finally, Ian confirmed that Kyle Lafferty was rested for tonight’s match as a precaution, with the Northern Irish hitman nursing a minor injury complaint.
“Lafferty is one of a few players who were carrying a minor bit of discomfort, so we’re at the stage of the pre-season now where we’re taking no risks, as it’s purely precautionary. He should be fine for Tuesday.”