Craig Levein believes Ian Cathro is “ahead of his time” when it comes to coaching.
But the former Scotland and Dundee United boss says a lack of life experience and media savvy were to blame for Cathro’s disastrous spell in the Hearts hot seat.
The Dundonian, 34, lasted seven months in the role before being sacked in August 2017.
It was a huge blow for Cathro, whose star had been on the rise thanks to his work at the Tangerines’ academy and coaching roles at Rio Ave and Valencia with Nuno Espirito Santo, and Newcastle United under Steve McClaren and Rafa Benitez.
Top-flight coaching credentials
His old Tannadice mentor Levein told the Football Daft podcast: “When Robbie (Neilson) left, Ian Cathro was my idea.
“I’d worked with Ian at Dundee United and I convinced the board to take a chance on him. That didn’t work.
“There’s no doubting his coaching capabilities.
“But his life experience and being put in the hot seat, I don’t think he was quite ready for it.”
Cathro – branded a laptop manager by his critics during his time at Tynecastle – is now a key member of Wolves’ backroom team in the English Premier League.
And Levein admits he is yet to sit down with his former protégé to discuss the Jambos episode.
He said: “I haven’t had the chance to do that. He’s at Wolves with Nuno after being at Rio Ave in Portugal with him, and then to Valencia.
“They met on an SFA A-Licence course.
“I do think he is on the coaching front (ahead of his time).
‘Ian Cathro was brilliant with the players’
“But in Scotland you’ve got to play the game with the media. I don’t think it was something Ian took too seriously.
“He thought he could just sort of fob people off and it wasn’t the most important thing he had to deal with.
“It’s just my opinion – he wasn’t engaging enough (with them) to get them onside.
“The other thing is, he was brilliant with the players. But the media stuff was a real problem for him.”