GARY LOCKE today described Jamie Hamill as a player who is as honest as any following allegations that he feigned being headbutted to get Raith Rovers player Dougie Hill sent off at Stark’s Park last night.
Raith manager Grant Murray claimed there was no contact when Hamill and Hill squared up in the 74th minute of the League Cup second-round tie, which Hearts won 5-4 on penalties after a 1-1 draw. The pair went head to head inside the visitors’ penalty area before Hamill fell to the ground. Hill was immediately sent off by referee Brian Colvin. Asked if Hamill would go down without any contact, Locke replied: “He’s not that type of player. Hamill is probably as honest a player as we’ve got. He gives us everything.
“It’s difficult for me to comment because I’m miles away from the incident. The referee has chosen to send the boy off and we ended up with a man extra.” Hill took to Twitter to vent his disgust at Hamill, whilst Murray said: “It’s not a sending-off. I’ve seen the video evidence. Nothing. It changes the game but it’s just one of these things. We’ve got to take it on the chin and move on.”
Locke was unhappy with his team’s performance but admitted being relieved at getting through thanks to Brad McKay’s decisive penalty. Hearts also had substitute goalkeeper Mark Ridgers to thank for their progress after he produced two excellent saves during the shootout.
“We didn’t quite utilise the extra man as well as we could have done,” continued Locke. “But the main thing is we got through and it keeps the momentum going. There is a real feelgood factor about the dressing-room and the whole club. Getting through to the next round of the cup keeps everybody happy.”
Ridgers replaced first-choice goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald after only 25 minutes of the match. MacDonald hurt his ankle but Locke is hopeful he will be available to face Inverness this weekend.
“Jamie’s okay. He’s twisted his ankle a little bit. The physio has assessed him and hopefully it’s nothing too bad. We’ll assess it again today,” said the manager.