GARY LOCKE has told his young Hearts side they’re going have to wise up fast if they’re to start getting the results they feel their performances deserve.
The Tynecastle side languish 13 points adrift of second-bottom Kilmarnock after taking just one point from their last six Scottish Premiership games.
The manager feels Hearts have held their own in most of those games, and is particularly frustrated that they failed to take anything from trips to Ross County and Motherwell, where they led going into the closing stages before losing both matches 2-1.
Locke knows all too well that, when it comes to battling relegation, the result is the bottom line and hard-luck stories count for nothing.
As a result, he is desperate to see his players augment their sound football ability with better decision-making and a ruthlessness to see games out.
“No team has really outclassed us, so I don’t think we’ve deserved all the results that have gone against us, but we can’t keep saying the same thing every week and feeling sorry for ourselves,” he said.
“We’re not going to get away with the errors that we’re making – we’re getting punished for every mistake we make so we need to make sure we try and cut them out.
“Saturday [at Motherwell] was a sore one to take – but we’re going to have to learn, and learn really quickly.
“We’ve all got to take more responsibility for what’s happening at the moment – me included. There’s no point in us feeling sorry for ourselves – I told the players that after the game on Saturday.
“We’re just going to have to dig in a bit more and make sure that when we do go in front, we hold on to it.
“We’ve merited a few more points than what we’ve actually got but I’m not going to make excuses. We’ve only taken one point from 18, which isn’t good enough.
“We’ve got a young squad, which isn’t ideal, but I still feel we’ve got a squad that’s capable of picking up more points than we have done. The only way we can rectify it is by getting back to winning ways.”
There was some cheer for Locke when it emerged that Callum Paterson’s injury, which forced him off at Motherwell, doesn’t appear to be as bad as first feared and he could be available for Saturday’s trip to relegation rivals Kilmarnock.
The manager also hopes to welcome Kevin McHattie, who has been laid low with a sickness bug, back to training on Thursday with a view to including him at Rugby Park.