Cathro: We are not go­ing there sim­ply to make up the num­bers

The Herald - Herald Sport - - LADBROKES PREMIERSHIP -

Ian Cathro has vowed that his team will not sim­ply ac­cept their fate when the Tynecas­tle side at­tempt to halt the Celtic jug­ger­naut tomorrow af­ter­noon.

Hearts will bid to master­mind a feat that no other Scot­tish side has achieved so far this sea­son by in­flict­ing a first de­feat on Bren­dan Rodgers’s team.

Celtic have steam­rolled their way through the Premier­ship so far, win­ning an in­cred­i­ble 20 of their 21 league matches – scor­ing an un­ri­valled 55 goals in process.

In con­trast, Hearts have strug­gled for form since Cathro re­placed Rob­bie Neil­son at the start of De­cem­ber and needed ex­tra-time to see off Raith Rovers in the Scot­tish Cup on Wed­nes­day.

Cathro in­sists he will send his side out at Park­head with the tar­get of do­ing more than just try­ing to con­tain the run­away league lead­ers.

He said: “We’ve got no in­ten­tion of be­ing lambs to the slaugh­ter. I think if you want to win then you have to score. If you want to score then you have to at­tack. If you want to at­tack you need to have the ball. I don’t see any rea­son why we need to feel dif­fer­ently about that. Is it more dif­fi­cult? Yes it is be­cause it’s a bet­ter op­po­nent.

“It’s the best op­po­nent in the coun­try. There are lots of things in their team – play­ers, qual­i­ties, the model of play, all the work that has taken place – that I think are ex­cel­lent and pleas­ing to have in our coun­try. But that doesn’t mean that I’m just go­ing to sit and take it.”

Tomorrow’s tele­vised game at Celtic Park is the start of an exciting run that in­cludes games against Rangers, Mother­well and city ri­val Hiber­nian in the Scot­tish Cup but Cathro, who has only mas­ter­minded two vic­to­ries in seven, is rel­ish­ing the chal­lenge.

He added: “It’s great. They are good op­por­tu­ni­ties. They are chal­lenges, but they are op­por­tu­ni­ties for us to grow and have more time with new play­ers set­tling in and build­ing re­la­tion­ships in the team.”

Cathro, mean­while, re­fused to elab­o­rate on claims from Cypriot side Anortho­sis Fa­m­a­gusta that Hearts are close to sign­ing for­mer St Mir­ren striker Es­mael Gon­calves. Cathro also con­ceded it was un­likely the club would make more sign­ings prior to the trip to Celtic.

He added: “I was a lit­tle bit sur­prised about that [what was said about Gon­cavles]. There are a few that we’re look­ing at. I would be very hes­i­tant to talk in any more depth about that prior to cer­tain things hav­ing hap­pened. We’d like to be able to bring in an­other two play­ers, a dif­fer­ent op­tion in at­tack and we need to bring in a cen­tre back. I don’t think any­thing will hap­pen ei­ther way be­fore Sun­day.”

DOOR AJAR: Kristof­fer Ajer has ar­rived at Kilmarnock to fur­ther his Celtic ca­reer.

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