HEARTS manager Gary Locke explained that he singled Jamie Walker out for special praise in the dressing-room at Pittodrie on Saturday after the winger’s game-changing display. Walker was acclaimed in front of his team-mates for scoring one goal and creating another in the 3-1 win over Aberdeen.
Locke stressed that every one of his players contributed to a surprise result which hinged on the second-half dismissal of Aberdeen’s Barry Robson. The hosts were 1-0 up when the midfielder was red carded for a second caution after bodychecking Jason Holt. Thereafter, Walker took the game by the scruff of the neck, scoring the equaliser and creating Callum Paterson’s goal before Ryan Stevenson sealed the game in stoppage time.
“I praised Jamie in front of the whole team,” said Locke today. “We’re very much in this together but I felt it was important to mention him. He’s worked his socks off this season. Like any young player, he’s had a couple of indifferent games. When he’s in that kind of form he can win us a game, which he did on Saturday.
“I didn’t get much of a response from him to be fair,” laughed Locke. “He’s one of those boys who is a quiet lad but I was delighted with him. I was delighted with the whole team but I thought Jamie was fantastic.
“Defensively, Danny Wilson and Dylan McGowan put their necks on the line. Jordan McGhee is only 17 and Kevin McHattie looked like his old self. I’m really happy with all of them so hopefully this is a result which can kickstart the season.”
Hearts are now 13 points behind Kilmarnock at the foot of the Scottish Premiership, with a two-week international break to come before they welcome Ross County to Tynecastle.
“We need to continually show the work rate we showed on Saturday. That was one of the most pleasing things,” continued Locke. “It’s never easy when teams go down to ten men. We made a couple of changes and in the second half, I thought every Hearts player was different class.”
• Hearts Bobby Walker, the first player to score 100 goals for the club, capped 29 times and hailed in some quarters as “Scotland’s greatest player of all time”, was one of six former players and managers who were last night inducted into the Scottish football Hall of Fame. The others were Martin Buchan, Tommy Docherty, Eddie Gray, Alan Rough and Scot Symon.