11 Dec Better times ahead
Ian Cathro has promised the Hearts support his new side will only get better after his dug-out debut ended in disappointment.
The 30-year-old former Valencia and Newcastle coach could not raise a performance out of his team as he took charge of the Jambos for the first time at Ibrox.
Rangers, beaten by the Gorgie men in former boss Robbie Neilson’s final match in charge, claimed revenge in Govan with a 2-0 victory after goals from Rob Kiernan and Barrie McKay.
Mark Warburton’s team had been buoyed by last week’s win over Aberdeen, but it was a tame showing from the Tynecastle visitors and Cathro, who has risen to one of Scottish football’s biggest jobs despite having never played at a serious level, has vowed to learn from his sobering first taste of management.
He strode on to the Ibrox pitch at full-time to deliver a message to the 1000-strong travelling faithful as he vowed his side would improve under his command.
Speaking afterwards, he said: “It’s important that the fans know that performance is not going to be what is on the grass for them. We will be better
“The team in the dressing room is better than what was on the pitch today. I want them to know that.
“It needs to be better and we all feel that. It’s not a dramatic day by any means. It’s a game which could have gone better and we could have been better.
“But there is no disaster associated to it. Just a game we need to learn from and improve from. We will be a different team that what you saw today.”
Cathro, along with number two Austin MacPhee, was Anne Budge’s bold choice as boss.
The Dundonian’s assent from Dundee United youth coach to Jambos boss has not gone with out negative comment in recent days, but he insisted the transition from Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez’s back-room staff to the Tynecastle hot seat had gone smoothly.
“Of course the situation is different, but I’d like to think one of the reasons I did well as an assistant was being able to help the manager as I really, really cared about it,” he said.
“For me, it was a normal day at work. We need to take as much value as we can out of this game and make improvements.
“Was there too much focus on me this week? No. Everyone will go through a process of getting to know me. I think you’ll realise that very little bothers me.
“Noise is noise. The reasons why I’ve been able to make progress in my career is because I focus on the work.”
The Jambos struggled to assert themselves early on, but were denied the opener after 17 minutes when assistant referee Stuart Stevenson chalked off a Don Cowie strike for offside, despite initially appearing to give the goal his blessing.
Rangers did not hang about to argue the decision and took the lead after 29 minutes when Kiernan thudded home his first goal for the club from a James Tavernier free-kick.
McKay slammed home the second six minutes after the interval when Igor Rossi and Facyal Rherras both allowed a simple Lee Wallace throw-in to bounce over their heads.
Gers boss Warburton was delighted to get another victory which cements their place in second, with a four-point cushion now separating them from Aberdeen.
And he praised McKay after the rejuvenated winger re-announced himself following a spell out of the team.
He said: “Barrie is a young player. Almost all of last season he was first choice and got a national call-up.
“For a young player a lot came very early. Young players have dips. The old saying is that form is temporary and class is permanent and I have no doubt Barrie McKay can go to the very top level. He can be as good as he wants to be and it was great to see him back to his best today.
“There is a lot of intensity so sometimes the best thing is to take them (young players) out of the limelight and let them work hard on the training ground, so they can get their form back. It happens to all of them. Great to see him back, he has worked hard in training and I am delighted for him.
“I thought we were good today as a team. Physically we were good, tempo wise we were good, quality on the ball was good.”