Hearts 1 - 0 Livingston: Cole Stockton secures victory

Hearts  Ally Roy, has an attack thwarted by Livingston goalkeeper, Gary Malley and defender Declan Gallagher. Photograph: Andrew OBrien
Hearts Ally Roy, has an attack thwarted by Livingston goalkeeper, Gary Malley and defender Declan Gallagher. Photograph: Andrew OBrien
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Ian Cathro is adamant there was nothing untoward about Jamie Walker’s absence after the in-demand midfielder missed Hearts’ friendly victory over Livingston.

Walker has been the subject of two failed bids from Rangers over the course of the summer, with Cathro stating last week that the furore surrounding the midfielder had become “too noisy”.

The 24-year-old has since returned to training but was not risked at the Tony Macaroni Arena yesterday, instead undergoing fitness work at Hearts’ Riccarton training base as he nurses a slight knock.

Cathro insists Walker will be involved when the capital club jet out to Ireland on Monday for fixtures against St Pat’s Athletic and Linfield. “He’s still part of our plans. Jamie trained well on Saturday morning with a group,” said Cathro. “He’ll be fit to go to Ireland.”

Cathro, who confirmed that Liam Smith is facing several weeks on the sidelines with an ankle knock, saw summer signing Cole Stockton secure the victory, slamming a Rory Currie cross into an empty net via the underside of the bar.

Fellow new arrival Rafal Grzelak, played at left wingback in Ian Cathro’s 3-4-3, also turned in a tireless shift and was the breadth of the post away from finding the net in the first period when he cut inside the box and rattled the woodwork before scuffing the rebound wide.

Euan Henderson, Ally Roy and Conor Sammon all came close to making the victory more handsome following the customary barrage of second-half substitutions.

“It’s positive for Cole – strikers like that; they like the feeling of when they kick it and it goes in! So I’m pleased for him,” added Cathro.

“It was good to see some of the work we have done, let the players get some sharpness and feel a little chaos.”

Meanwhile, Hearts confirmed yesterday that former manager Gary Locke has returned to the club as principal ambassador. Locke has left his role as manager of Cowdenbeath to take up the full-time position, with his numberb two Billy Brown taking charge at the Blue Brazil.