Hearts reveal opponent and date for Gary Locke's testimonial match

Hearts will play Stoke City in Gary Locke’s testimonial, the club have announced.

The match will be played at Tynecastle Park on Saturday, July 23 with a 3pm kick-off as Robbie Neilson’s men continue their pre-season preparations ahead of the new campaign, which will begin a week later with the visit of Ross County in the cinch Premiership.

Stoke are managed by former Hibs winger and Northern Ireland international boss Michael O’Neill, who lives on the outskirts of Edinburgh and was in attendance at the 3-1 defeat to Rangers on the final day of the 2021/22 league season.

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Locke has been employed by Hearts as the club’s principal ambassador since returning in 2017, three years after he was sacked as manager following the takeover by Ann Budge with Craig Levein and Robbie Neilson being instilled as director of football and head coach, respectively.

Gary Locke has been a player, coach, manager and principal ambassador of Hearts across his career in the game. Picture: SNS

The 46-year-old previously starred for his boyhood heroes after coming through the ranks in Gorgie. He made 189 appearances between 1993 and 2001.

Locke, at the tender age of 20, led out Hearts as captain for the 1996 Scottish Cup final to Rangers. Unfortunately, he suffered a terrible knee injury just a few minutes into the game and would battle fitness issues the rest of his career.

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He would come back as a coach under Jim Jefferies and Billy Brown when the pair returned to manage the club between January 2010 and August 2011.

Locke remained as part of Paulo Sergio’s staff as the club defeated Hibs 5-1 in the 2012 Scottish Cup final. He remained on staff following Sergio’s exit and succeeded John McGlynn as boss the following year.

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