HEARTS manager Gary Locke praised his team’s reaction to their 4-0 Boxing Day drubbing by Kilmarnock and believes their level of performance in yesterday’s 1-1 draw at St Mirren was good enough to heighten hopes they can win Thursday night’s derby at Easter Road.
Jamie Hamill cancelled out Steven Thompson’s early strike for St Mirren to earn a point in Paisley and Locke said: “The Boxing Day game was one of only a couple of games when I’ve been really disappointed with the players this season and there were a few choice words afterwards. I asked for a response here and I felt I got it.
“We lost a poor early goal but our reaction was right. I felt we were unfortunate not to get three points. St Mirren have Marian Kello to thank for his late save from Callum Paterson. Having worked with Marian at Hearts, I know he’s a top goalkeeper. It was a fantastic goal for us from Jamie and summed up his performance. He got back to doing what he was doing at the start of the season. He covered every blade of grass, he passed it well, won tackles and he’s a big asset in that type of form.
“But it’s more the performance of the team I was pleased with, having come off the back of such a bad one on Boxing Day. The main thing for us is keeping everyone fit. You could see the importance of having Ryan Stevenson back from injury today.
“The derby against Hibs is another tough game, but if we play as we did here, we’ll give ourselves a great chance of winning it.”