SO extreme is this backhanded compliment that the description of Ian Cathro as “not the most charismatic but certainly intelligent” is verging on an insult.

But when talking to anyone who knows or at least has met the new Hearts manager, they stress that while the 30-year-old Dundonian is a damn fine football coach, few ever viewed him as a potential frontman. However, he is not someone anyone should under-estimate.

Those who have written off Cathro already really need to take a good look at themselves. Kris Boyd, who was on the same Pro Licence course with Cathro, used his column in The Sun to offer up a rather damning assessment on his imminent appointment.

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“He’s one of the up-and-coming, modern-era coaches who can organise a session just by flicking open his laptop,” said Boyd. “There isn’t a session out there he couldn’t get on to his Macbook. But setting up a presentation to a group of players is all well and good. That does not require man-management skills, which is part of the game he knows absolutely nothing about. Time will tell if I’m wrong on that. But if I was a Jambo I’d be worried.”

The Kilmarnock player then added: “And for me Cathro is way, way out of his depth.”

Boyd far from along in making such presumptions pronouncements.

What must be said is that Hearts owner Ann Budge has not got too much wrong over the past two and a bit years. It’s not as if Cathro’s name has been picked out of a hat or the Tynecastle club have gone for him because he’s flavour of the month in some quarters.

Due diligence will have been done, many phone calls made. The club will not see Cathro as a risk and, indeed, Newcastle United, where he was first-team coach under Rafa Benitez, didn't want him to leave.

The players like him. They don’t see him as too young or not football-y enough - he has never played a single professional game. “He takes no xxxx” was one comment relayed to me. Cathro has no qualms about stopping a training session midway through to tell the squad they are not doing things correctly.

He told one journalist who asked him to pose for a photograph that he “doesn’t so smiling” which is in its way a pretty funny remark.

He is nobody's yes man. He is also intense and bordering on obsessive about his football.

“The biggest thing a player needs to do in a game is make decisions,” he said. “There needs to be a structure within which he makes those decisions but he needs to use his own interpretation and intelligence.

“So maybe the structure he’s been given by the manager gives him three options to take – he needs to take the right one. A lot of the times the job is to help bigger groups of players involved in those decisions to make a collective decision correctly.

"That leads to greater cohesion and you start to dominate play. It stops being individual development and it goes to being a team decision.”

Cathro has been hugely influenced by Benitez during their eight months together at Newcastle. The Spaniard is not everyone’s cup of tea; however, he has led his teams to four Champions League finals so knows what he’s doing.

“His attention to detail is excellent,” said the Scot when asked about Benitez. “The best way to describe him is that his ability to see a game of football and immediately understand all of aspects of it is unique.

“It’s difficult to know exactly why someone is doing something when you’re not involved in it but he can immediately have a pretty strong idea of why one player has done something, why the backline is playing as it is and so on.

"He’s at that point of expertise and experience where his brain process is that ‘bang’. He understands it. That’s why he’s so good. He has his own vision and convictions and a clear direction about where he wants to go but he can also process what is going on instantly. So that means he can change things as they are happening.

"One of the things the team has made progress on is that there have been several occasions where we’ve been on the edge of making an error but we’ve fixed it before it has slapped us in the face. Not everyone can do that.”

Cathro is going to be a coach first and foremost. The suggestion Craig Levein, the director of football at Hearts, made the big decisions during Neilson’s time are overstated but his influence is huge. Because of this, the appointment makes sense.

It is a huge step up. Coaching Newcastle is a big job, but Benitez is in charge of everything. Cathro has done his bidding up until now and so it will be interesting if and how he makes the transition.

Jamie Fullarton, the former St Mirren player who was briefly manager of Notts County, is another to question Hearts but his accusation, made to the BBC, that Cathro was not a hand-on coach at Newcastle were utterly false.

“The primary task is helping the players reach a point where they feel entirely clear and comfortable with what the manager is asking,” Cathro told the Newcastle Chronicle. “As I said previously, the players have to be convinced of how we’re going to do certain things and operate in certain parts of the game.

“My job is to help communicate those ideas from the manager to the players.”

Levein knows him for his time as youth coach at Dundee United. After leaving Tayside he worked in Portugal and Spain, with Valencia, so he’s hardly been pulled off the street.

Same, too, Austin MacPhee, who is set to be Cathro’s assistant. The current assistant to Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill looked all-but confirmed to be as performance director with the SFA appears to be on his way to Tynecastle as well.

Which rather does beg the question why the SFA have not got signed him well before now.

“Austin is brilliant,” Jimmy Nicholl, a fellow coach with Northern Ireland, told me some months ago. “His attention to detail is second to none. He has played a huge part in what we’ve achieved.”

Hearts should be praised for such innovation. There is no guarantee any of this will work but it’s going to be a fascinating watch.