Gary Locke wants Hearts to pass more

Hearts manager Gary Locke reacts during the St Mirren match. Picture by JANE BARLOW.
Hearts manager Gary Locke reacts during the St Mirren match. Picture by JANE BARLOW.
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GARY LOCKE has analysed Hearts’ shortcomings against St Mirren last Saturday and stressed today that his players must pass the ball better. The manager was disappointed with aspects of his team’s play and underlined the need to improve.

“It was important that we analysed it and had a look at where we went wrong,” Locke told the Evening News. “One of the things is, we always encourage the players all the time to pass it and move and I felt we didn’t do that on Saturday, apart from the first 15 minutes.

“I thought we started the game reasonably well. After that, we didn’t pass it well. We tended to just put the ball forward and didn’t really play the way we have been playing. It was one game where we probably let ourselves down. In the main, we’ve played reasonably well. It’s important we don’t get too despondent. It was one bad performance and hopefully we can get back on track at Motherwell a week on Saturday.

“The spine of the St Mirren team are experienced players who can play, but I’m not going to use that as an excuse. We’ve got boys in there like Jamie Hamill, Ryan Stevenson and Danny Wilson, so we can’t really use that as an excuse.”

The 2-0 defeat emphasised the task facing Hearts as they try to avoid relegation this season after starting with a 15-point penalty for entering administration.

“We’ve said from day one that it was always going to be difficult,” said Locke.

“The biggest thing from Saturday is it was a reality check in as much as it’s not going to be easy. It’s not great to lose but, on the other side of the coin, it might not be a bad thing because it makes you realise just how difficult it’s going to be.”

Meanwhile, Locke has accepted an apology from Scott Robinson after the midfielder complained of being picked on because he has been substituted several times this season. “I’ve spoken with Scott and the matter has been dealt with behind closed doors,” said Locke. “I understand some of Scott’s frustrations, but anything and everything I do is because I believe it’s for the benefit of the team. Lessons have been learned here and we now move on.”