Hearts close to Newcastle United’s Ian Cathro unveiling

Talks between Ian Cathro and Hearts Midlothian have begun about becoming their new manager according to the Daily Record.

Hearts are currently without a manager after Robbie Neilson left the SPL side to join League One MK Dons late last week.

And the Edinburgh-based club has quickly identified Cathro as their replacement for Neilson, which Newcastle United boss Rafael Benitez has reportedly given his blessing for the 30-year-old to leave.

His time on Tyneside

After earning himself a high reputation with assistant manager spells Rio Ave and a sizeable club in Valencia, Steve McClaran persuaded the Scotsman to join his coaching staff when he took the Newcastle rein in 2015.

Cathro lasted from June 2015 to March 2016 which McClaren and his new-look backroom staff. However, when McClaren received his marching order, a high number of coaches departed with the 55-year-old.

It was largely anticipated that Cathro would join his colleagues out of the door at St James' Park , however, Benitez asked the former Valencia coach to stay given the reputation that Cathro already carries at 30.

Young manager

With talks quickly materialising, the Daily Record also understood that Hearts are hopeful that they can announce Cathro as their new boss early this week.

When it is official, it will be Cathro’s first job in first team management. With spells assistant management spells, the Scotsman will now be eying the chance of becoming one the youngest managers in European football.

The Jambos are keen to have Cathro in place in time for their visit to Ibrox this coming Saturday afternoon.

Putting in a good word

Hearts’ director of football and former Scotland boss, Craig Levein, briefly mentioned Cathro when he outlined what the club are looking for in their next manager.

Levein called Cathro a “good friend” of his but “he is employed by another club, so I don’t want to talk about him.”The profile hasn’t changed from Robbie (Neilson) really,” said Levein.

Neilson took the Hearts management job when he 34, and with the way Hearts have risen again from the second tier of Scottish football, there is no surprise Cathro is being strongly considered: “We are looking for a young, intelligent, energetic, enthusiastic coach who can help us move on from where we are.” said Levein.

He then added: “That’s the key, to try to get someone in who can improve us.”