GARY LOCKE today demanded Hearts become more clinical in front of goal after watching his strikers pass up too many scoring chances. The manager stressed that finishing is worked on daily at Riccarton but in games he wants more ruthlessness in the penalty area.
Despite creating the same number of chances as Aberdeen at Pittodrie on Saturday, Hearts returned to Edinburgh with a 2-0 defeat. Locke is frustrated by seeing opportunities wasted.
Hearts have managed just 30 goals in 32 league games so far this season. Only the SPL’s bottom club Dundee have scored fewer and Locke is determined to stop profligacy costing his team points.
“It was difficult on Saturday with the pitch but the chances we’re creating aren’t half chances – they are really good chances,” he told the Evening News. “We need to start being more clinical in front of goal. We’ve worked on it in training all season. It’s not something we don’t pay attention to. We work on crossing and finishing from all different types of angles every day. When we get these chances we’ve got to start taking them.”
The manager is also eager to improve aspects of Hearts’ defensive play, so was relieved to see Jamie Hamill return at the weekend after 12 months out with a ruptured cruciate ligament. “I was pleased with Jamie when he went on. Niall McGinn was causing us one or two problems and I felt we needed a bit of experience in the right-back position. I thought he acquitted himself really well.
“We’re a really young team and we need some experience to steady the ship. Hopefully Jamie can do that. We work defensively as well and I think we have to defend a bit better as a team because the goals we lost on Saturday were poor.”