Ian Cathro: Hearts announce new head coach

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New Hearts head coach Ian Cathro has 'no limits'

Ian Cathro is the new head coach at Hearts after agreeing to leave his post at Newcastle.

He will be joined by Austin MacPhee, the Northern Ireland assistant coach.

The 30-year-old Cathro has signed a three-and-a-half-year deal at Tynecastle and will take charge of Saturday's Scottish Premiership match at Rangers.

He replaces Robbie Neilson, who left last week to take over at MK Dons, along with assistant Stevie Crawford.

New assistant MacPhee, 37, had been in contention for the role of Performance Director at the Scottish Football Association, but has elected to join Cathro at Tynecastle.

He will continue to be a member of Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill's backroom staff, combining that role with his new position at Hearts.

Cathro had been an assistant coach at St James' Park since June 2015, serving Steve McClaren and then Rafa Benitez.

"This is a step I've wanted to take, one I've prepared for and I think the circumstances are perfect," he told Hearts TV.

"What will the fans get? A team that wants to win. A team that when the first whistle goes - irrespective of the circumstances, the opponent, home, away, rain, sun, no matter what - when the first whistle goes we will expect to win.

"And we will work to find a way in which we believe that we can win.

Austin MacPhee attended Rangers' win over Aberdeen on Saturday
Austin MacPhee attended Rangers' win over Aberdeen on Saturday

"We're going to want to use the ball, we're going to want to be incredibly energetic, we'll want to attack and score goals. We want to be aggressive and be as close to the opponent's goal as we possibly can.

"We'll make it an exciting place to come. Will it always be perfect? No it won't. But everybody will be at maximum all the time. It could be an enjoyable ride."

During his time as manager of Dundee United, Hearts director of football Craig Levein employed Cathro as a youth coach.

Cathro worked with the academy at Tannadice for four years before a move to Portugal with Rio Ave, where he was assistant to manager Nuno Espirito Santo.

The duo then moved to Valencia, steering them to a fourth place finish in La Liga before Cathro returned to the UK with Newcastle.

"We are delighted to have secured the services of Ian Cathro and are confident he is the ideal candidate to take our club forward," said chairwoman Ann Budge.

Ian Cathro
Cathro was kept on as a Newcastle coach when Rafa Benitez took charge

"He is widely regarded as one of the brightest young coaches in the game and has amassed a great deal of experience both at home and abroad.

"He may only be 30 years of age but we are convinced that he has all the tools required to be a successful head coach."

Hearts sit third in the Scottish Premiership after Saturday's 2-2 draw at Ross County, two points behind Rangers.

Benitez will not move to replace Cathro immediately, with the Newcastle boss saying: "I would like to wish Ian the very best success with his first head coach role.

"When a coach has the opportunity and the desire to progress his career in management, it is always very important to allow them the freedom to move on and develop themselves."

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