HEARTS manager Gary Locke today stressed that team selection and substitutions are done with justification at Tynecastle in light of complaints from midfielder Scott Robinson that he is being treated unfairly.
Following Saturday’s 2-0 home defeat by St Mirren, Robinson spoke exclusively to the Evening News and expressed his dismay at being substituted at half-time for the second consecutive week. His claims that he is being “picked on” are inside today’s edition.
Locke responded in philosophical fashion and declared that he is not in the habit of victimising any player. He added that his decisions are made in the best interests of the team and explained why Robinson has been taken off.
“Scott is like that, he’s that type of boy,” Locke told the Evening News. “He does get a bit emotional and he does react in certain ways at times. On Saturday, I just felt we needed to change things at half-time. If I feel we need to change things and it works, then great. If it doesn’t work, then as a manager you take responsibility.
“It was just one of those things. We weren’t playing that great for 25 minutes before half-time and I felt we needed to go with another striker. That was the reason I changed it and obviously you have to sacrifice players. Unfortunately, this time it was Scott.
“I look at the games as open-minded as I can and, if I feel we need to change one or two things, that’s what I do. It’s a long, hard season ahead. We’ve got players who are going to play games, players who are going to come off in games. It’s very much everybody is in it together.”
Locke reiterated that having everyone pulling in the same direction remains crucial to Hearts’ chances of avoiding relegation, particularly after Saturday’s defeat. He insisted Robinson will still have a big part to play throughout the remainder of the campaign.
“Without a doubt he’ll have a big part to play, all the players will. We’ve said from day one that, for us to have any success this season, we’re going to have to all stick together. I’ve been delighted with the way the boys have really taken to the training, team selection and what we’re trying to do. That will remain the same for the rest of the season.”