Gary Locke: We showed real heart

CLOSE CONTEST: Hearts player David Smith battles with Dundee United's Ryan Gauld during the stalemate at Tynecastle. Picture: SNS

CLOSE CONTEST: Hearts player David Smith battles with Dundee United's Ryan Gauld during the stalemate at Tynecastle. Picture: SNS

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GARY LOCKE today praised his players’ perseverance for collecting a point against Dundee United and recovering more ground in their fight against relegation.

Hearts moved on to minus seven points following Saturday’s goalless draw at Tynecastle, although second-bottom St Mirren have one point with two games in hand and play Aberdeen tonight. Locke felt Hearts should have taken all three points but hailed the spirit of his players. They avoided what would have been a fourth successive league defeat, this time against a United side which had scored 17 times in their previous six games.

“I’m over the moon we’ve made up some ground,” Locke told the Evening News. “I thought the boys played really well and you saw the reaction of the supporters at the end. I was disappointed for the players because I thought their effort and commitment deserved three points. Dundee United are playing really well at the moment and we applied ourselves very well. We can take a lot out of our performance. If you don’t take three points then it’s important to pick up a point and we did that. Obviously, at Tynecastle we’re looking to win. On another day we might have got that so I’m not too disappointed.”

Dylan McGowan’s disallowed goal was the game’s most contentious moment as Jason Holt was penalised for apparently pushing the United goalkeeper, Radoslaw Cierzniak.

“It’s certainly difficult to pick yourself up (after a decision like that),” added Locke. “I’ve seen it again and it’s a goal, a perfectly good goal.

“One thing we can’t do is let is affect us. It’s gone now, we need to accept it because there’s nothing we can do about it. We need to move on.

“We have a big game coming against St Mirren this weekend, so it’s time to get the heads up and go again. They say that, over the course of a season, these things even themselves out. We’ll wait and see if that happens or not.”