Hearts: Midfielder Don Cowie backs 'tremendous' head coach Ian Cathro

Hearts' Don Cowie
Cowie is convinced Hearts will be a much-improved outfit next season

Hearts midfielder Don Cowie has backed head coach Ian Cathro to turn things around at Tynecastle.

Cathro has overseen six wins from 24 games since taking over, leading to criticism from the club's fans.

And Saturday's 2-1 defeat at Rangers, coupled with St Johnstone's win over Partick Thistle, means Hearts cannot now qualify for Europe.

But Cowie said: "I firmly believe we have a tremendous manager, and we need to stick by him and get through this."

With St Johnstone now certain of a fourth-place finish and that last European berth, Hearts are left to battle it out with Partick Thistle for fifth spot in the Premiership, with the Jambos currently four points clear of the Jags.

It is far from where the Gorgie faithful want to be but Cowie says Cathro should not be bearing the brunt of the fans' flak alone.

Esmael Goncalves nets against Rangers
Esmael Goncalves levelled for Hearts against Rangers but they went on to lose the game 2-1

And he is convinced the 30-year-old will get it right in time for next term.

"Look, we all take responsibility for the way things have gone in the last few months," the 34-year-old former Wigan, Cardiff and Watford player said.

"A lot of it has been put on to the manager but us as players need to take part of the blame. The performances haven't been good enough.

"I don't like talking about next season but I believe that after the summer we will come back a stronger team."

Cowie reckons there were positive signs for the future in Saturday's defeat at Ibrox.

Rangers took an early lead through Joe Garner before Hearts' Prince Buaben was shown a straight red card for a last-man challenge on Josh Windass.

Cathro's side produced a much-improved second-half display, however, levelling through Esmael Goncalves before Barrie McKay won it for the home side.

"There has been a lot of doom and gloom about but you saw a performance from boys that were putting their body on the line and showing what it means to play for this club," Cowie added.

Meanwhile, Hearts have handed a new one-year deal to Bulgarian striker Nikolay Todorov.

The 20-year-old scored five goals for Cowdenbeath and four goals for League One title winners Livingston during loan spells this season.

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