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