MEHDI TAOUIL insists the Hearts players will be driven by a desire to reward interim manager Gary Locke with a derby victory at Easter Road.
Locke has helped galvanise the squad since the departure of John McGlynn a week past Thursday and is set to take charge of the the team for the third game running as they travel across the city to face Hibs tomorrow.
However, it is likely to be the diehard Hearts fan’s last game in charge – for the time being at least – with Peter Houston emerging as the favourite to beat off competition from John Robertson and Derek McInnes and land the job ahead of next weekend’s League Cup final.
Although Locke appears set to miss out on his dream job, midfielder Taouil insists the team will be going all to ensure the popular 37-year-old at least has a derby victory on his CV in a managerial capacity.
“Lockey helps get us really motivated for these games as the derbies have meant alot to him since he was a wee kid,” said Taouil. “Having him on the staff just fires the boys up. If he is the manager at Easter Road there will definitely be extra incentive for us to do well for him.
“Everyone would be very very happy for him, just as we were after the win against St Johnstone. We don’t know for how long he will be in charge at this moment but everyone wants to give everything for Lockey. He’s not in a good mood if we lose to Hibs so we want to avoid that. All the boys really appreciate him and will give 200 per cent for him.”
Meanwhile, Hearts midfielder Scott Robinson has undergone successful surgery on a knee injury. The 20-year-old, who last week signed a two-year contract extension at Tynecastle, faces ten to 12 weeks’ rehabilitation but is expected to be fully fit for the start of pre-season.