Gary Locke wants cool Hearts heads

Hearts manager Gary Locke. Pic: SNS
Hearts manager Gary Locke. Pic: SNS
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Gary Locke will play down the significance of tomorrow’s Edinburgh derby in front of the Hearts players to help his youngsters relax and perform at their best.

The chances of Hearts being relegated by Hibs will depend on St Mirren’s result against Inverness Caledonian Thistle this afternoon, but Locke is concerned about young players getting overly hyped up inside the Tynecastle dressing room.

The Edinburgh club have known for some time that they will slip into the Championship at the end of the season but are eager to avoid that fate being confirmed by their Capital rivals. Locke said today he will ensure preparations for the match are as relaxed as possible.

“That’s been a concern all season. That’s why we’ve tried to go into games and take the pressure off the them,” he said. “There has been a lot for them all to deal with, especially the younger lads. It’s not just the football. Mentally, everything that’s happened off the pitch can sometimes affect you so it’s been a long and hard season for a lot of them.

“We’ll try to play it down as much as possible and hopefully the players will relax and show everybody how good they are.

“It’s never been a situation I’ve had to deal with. It looks inevitable that we will go down, but it’s not going to be Hibs that relegate us. We’ve had a lot of games over the course of the season to pick up points. With a 15-point deduction, and a very young team, it was always going to be a hard campaign.

“The Hibs fans might see it differently but it’s not going to be Hibs or any other team that relegates us. Over the course of the season, we’ve found a lot of games difficult and we haven’t managed to pick up enough points.

“The boys have done really well in the derbies so far this season, although we were disappointed to lose last time out. They have been close. Our squad is young but these boys all want to play in the big games with big atmospheres and big crowds.”

Teenage winger Sam Nicholson is likely to be handed a key attacking role by Locke, but the manager stressed that having a full team at the top of their game is far more significant.

“The key to derby games is the whole team,” he continued. “You aren’t going to win many games if only one or two play well on the day. Certainly, we have one or two who are doing well. Sam, if he plays the way he has been playing, can cause Hibs problems. You have a better chance of winning with everyone turning up and ready to go.

“You’re desperate to win it because it keeps everybody at the club and the fans happy. It’s a game we’re really looking forward to. Whatever happens with other results might add a wee bit extra spice to it but we’re going into the game to try and win it.

“It would be an additional bonus to keep the Hibs fans quiet but that’s the same in any derby. If you’re winning, you keep the opposition fans quiet and it’s great. The good thing for me is it’s going to be a complete sell-out. That happens very rarely, especially in the derbies at Tynecastle.”

relegates us. Over the course of the season, we’ve found a lot of games difficult and we haven’t managed to pick up enough points.

“The boys have done really well in the derbies so far this season, although we were disappointed to lose last time out. They have been close. Our squad is young but these boys all want to play in the big games with big atmospheres and big crowds.”

Teenage winger Sam Nicholson is likely to be handed a key attacking role by Locke, but the manager stressed that having a full team at the top of their game is far more significant.

“The key to derby games is the whole team,” he continued. “You aren’t going to win many games if only one or two play well on the day. Certainly, we have one or two who are doing well. Sam, if he plays the way he has been playing, can cause Hibs problems. You have a better chance of winning with everyone turning up and ready to go.

“You’re desperate to win it because it keeps everybody at the club and the fans happy. It’s a game we’re really looking forward to. Whatever happens with other results might add a wee bit extra spice to it but we’re going into the game to try and win it.

“It would be an additional bonus to keep the Hibs fans quiet but that’s the same in any derby. If you’re winning, you keep the opposition fans quiet and it’s great. The good thing for me is it’s going to be a complete sellout. That happens very rarely, especially in the derbies at Tynecastle.”

Meanwhile, Hearts must 
wait until next week at the 
earliest to find out whether creditors of Ukio Bankas will allow their 29.9 per cent stake in the club to be transferred to prospective new owner Ann Budge.

Hearts’ administrators BDO were last night still awaiting information relating to a Ukio creditors’ meeting planned for yesterday. Ukio have conditionally accepted a £2.5million Creditors’ Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) as Hearts’ only secured creditor but their own creditors must vote through the share transfer for the CVA to proceed.

A meeting of UBIG creditors which had also been scheduled for yesterday will now take place on April 7. Similar to Ukio, their creditors must approve the transfer of their stake in Hearts, which amounts to 50 per cent.

• Hearts have dispatched third-choice goalkeeper Jack Hamilton on loan to East Fife until the end of the season.

He has been farmed out in order to get regular game time but will be able to play for his parent club in the SFA Youth Cup semi-final against Kilmarnock at Tynecastle on April 12.