08 Apr Winning the key for Hearts
Hearts head coach Ian Cathro admits the result was all that mattered as his side ground out a narrow 1-0 victory over Dundee.
Isma Goncalves scored the only goal of a nervy contest after 13 minutes as the hosts ended a run of three straight defeats and inflicted a sixth straight loss on embattled Dundee.
The victory keeps Hearts on the coattails of fourth place St Johnstone and a potential Europa League spot, while Dundee are just a point above the relegation play-off zone in the Ladbrokes Premiership.
Former Newcastle assistant manager Cathro’s suitably for the job had been called into question and the 30-year-old was relieved to return to winning ways.
He said: “I think it was more nervy than it should have been, but a lot of that is down to the run that we’ve been on and the feeling around the place.
“Any situation where the game is 1-0, you know you’re going to be defending at the end.
“For us, it became about making sure we were able to get that over the line.
“We did that. Tactically we were fine, we were in the right positions, the fight was there, which people have questioned.
“For a lot of the players, playing their third game in a week, it was a massive effort to keep pushing and make sure they got it over the line.
“It’s pleasing on that side of things – it was important that we did that.”
Hearts will bid to close the gap on St Johnstone when they travel to Kilmarnock next Friday and Cathro is desperate to create some momentum..
He added: “We all know how important it is to build on this.
“We’re pleased to have dealt with today but we’ll move on immediately.
“We have to make sure this isn’t another false start, you know? It’s time to go.”
Dundee remain the relegation mire and Dens Park manager Paul Hartley was left ruing a wasted chance by substitute Craig Wighton.
Just moments after coming on, the Scotland Under-21 internationalist had a clear run at Jack Hamilton’s goal but lacked composure at the crucial moment after pulling a woeful effort wide.
Hartley said: “It wasn’t a classic but you don’t expect that at this stage of the season.
“Hearts had a lot of possession but the difference was they took their chance and we didn’t.
“Craig had a great opportunity and didn’t take it and that’s what happens when it’s not going your way. Our plan was to frustrate the fans and stay in the game and we said at half time we would get a chance.
“But Craig is a young player and I won’t criticise him. That’s not my style. He’ll have more chances and miss more but that happens. This game has gone for me and it’s all about next week now.”
Asked about his side’s predicament ahead of next weekend’s clash with Hamilton, Hartley added: “We always knew it would be tight and this situation will go down to the wire.
“We play Hamilton next week and we’ve got t to make sure we’re ready and prepared.”