Terry Butcher impressed by spirit of young Hearts

Terry Butcher: Top of the table. Picture: SNS

Terry Butcher: Top of the table. Picture: SNS

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Inverness Caledonian Thistle manager Terry Butcher recognises the energy and enthusiasm that Hearts boss Gary Locke is getting from his young players.

Hearts visit Scottish Premiership leaders Inverness tomorrow nine points adrift at the foot of the table. But only Caley Thistle have bettered their seven-point tally this season.

Locke was thrust into a crisis situation when Hearts went into administration months into his reign, a situation Butcher can identify with.

The Englishman returned to management after a nine-year absence when he stepped up from his role as assistant boss when Motherwell went into administration in 2002.

Despite finishing bottom of the league in his first full season, Butcher’s spell in charge during administration helped the emergence of the likes of James McFadden, Stevie Hammell, Keith Lasley and David Clarkson and the side went on to secure consecutive top-six finishes.

Butcher said: “Gary has done extraordinarily well. He has got some good young players but you have got to mould them, cajole them and inspire them. But sometimes they do things you don’t expect them to.

“There are some wonderful talents there. They are all playing for their future and playing with a freedom that sometimes comes with that.

“I noticed that at Motherwell. When we put a lot of young players in the team we got energy and enthusiasm.

“Sometimes they make mistakes and sometimes they are not quite in the right positions but they will certainly run all day for you. And, when you look at the Hearts team, they are certainly running all day for Gary Locke.”

Butcher, though, has backed his team to match the visitors in that regard.

“We like to get the ball down and pass it, but we also like to put teams under pressure by pressing them with our energy,” he said. “If we can match Hearts for energy then I’m sure we’ll do all right.”

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