Locke takes Hearts squad go-karting before final

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INTERIM-MANAGER Gary Locke hopes Hearts are geared up for League Cup success after taking the squad go-karting.

Locke, handed the reins along with Darren Murray when John McGlynn stood down a fortnight ago, arranged the team-bonding session for after training yesterday, just six days before the Hampden showdown with St Mirren.

It remains to be seen whether Locke, whose third game in charge on Sunday ended in a goalless draw at city rivals Hibs, will be in charge for the final after former Dundee United manager Peter Houston admitted at the weekend that he had spoken to the club about the vacancy.

Hearts officials insisted yesterday there were no imminent plans to make an announcement over the managerial situation.

But the players are hoping a day chasing each other around the race track can help drive them towards Hampden glory.

Defender Brad McKay, who made his debut at Easter Road after replacing the injured Fraser Mullen said: “Hopefully the go-karting gets the boys together and gets us up for it. Hopefully that will do the job and get us ready for the final.”

Hearts supporter McKay admits he is pinching himself at the prospect of playing at Hampden just days after making his debut.

Mullen is a serious doubt for Sunday’s match after limping out with a swollen ankle after just 38 minutes.

McKay, speaking to Hearts TV, added: “I went to my bed on Saturday night and didn’t think by Sunday afternoon that I would have played, but that’s the beauty of football, I suppose.

“I was not really expecting to get on the bench, never mind on the pitch. Of course I’m thinking about the final. I was dreaming about that even before he was injured. It’s one of those things. I have to keep working hard in training and see where it takes me.”

Locke insists McKay has done his chances of featuring in the final no harm after his solid display against Hibs. He added: “I thought Brad was fantastic. He has been a stand-out for the 
under-20s this year. I thought he acquitted himself really well. He’ll definitely be in contention. Fraser’s ankle has swollen up, so he will be a bit of doubt, but if he responds well, he will come into consideration.”