HEARTS manager Gary Locke is hoping “common sense will prevail” when the SFA disciplinary committee meet to discuss the moment Derek Adams was knocked to the ground during last weekend’s league match against Ross County at Tynecastle.
Jamie Hamill was sent off following his collision with the County manager and the stand-in skipper will sit out this weekend’s Edinburgh derby as a consequence, but Locke says he doesn’t understand why his player has been targeted by compliance officer Vincent Lunny, who issued him with a complaint of excessive misconduct.
His view seems to be substantiated by Roy McGregor, chairman of the Highland club, who said he said he did not believe Hamill had deliberately barged into Adams and appealed for leniency on the player’s behalf.
Having apologised to the Ross County manager after the game, Locke is hoping the SFA prove as understanding.
“I am disappointed with it, especially with their chairman coming out and saying his piece on it. I’ve spoken with Jamie and we’ve dealt with it internally and I felt that should have been the end of the matter. We will see what else comes out of it, but hopefully it won’t be too much.
“I thought the referee dealt with it at the time. He saw the whole incident and I am in no doubt he put that in his report and quite rightly Jamie was sent off. I have no complaints about that. But I am disappointed with what has happened since.
“I’ve seen it again and I have spoken to Derek and apologised to him and, for me, we should move on. But with this hearing coming up we will have to deal with it. But it’s telling when the chairman of Ross County comes out and says what he did. I certainly don’t feel it was ‘excessive misconduct’ so we will see what happens. Hopefully common sense will prevail.”
The club have until Wednesday to formally respond but, having reviewed the footage, they will be contesting it. While Locke hopes an appeal will help Hamill avoid any further ban, the player will miss out on the final derby of the season. But Locke has been bolstered by the return of captain Danny Wilson from suspension.
The club captain has missed the last two games after he was sent off against Aberdeen at the beginning of the month, but the team has taken six points from six in his absence, leaving Locke with a tough decision ahead of Sunday’s match.
“That gives me a headache. Danny is the captain and he has done very well. But the boys who have played the last few games have done well as well.
“One thing we have had over the last couple of weeks that we have not had all season is competition for places. You see it now with the wider areas and at centre half as well.
“It’s great as a lot of the younger lads have now staked their claim for places in the team. Earlier on in the season the team virtually picked itself but last week we had Hamill, Robinson and Holt fighting for two places.
“So it’s a great problem to have – and certainly one I would much rather have than the ones I had earlier in the season. You have got to make some tough decisions at times and I will have another one at the weekend. Hopefully I make the right one.”
Meanwhile, the SFA has confirmed St Mirren Park will be the venue for the Scottish FA Youth Cup Final between Rangers and Hearts. The match will take place on Tuesday 13 May (7.30pm).