Locke to continue as normal despite Houston tips

Gary Locke: Yet to be told about new boss. Picture: Jane Barlow
Gary Locke: Yet to be told about new boss. Picture: Jane Barlow
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HEARTS’ caretaker manager Gary Locke insisted yesterday that he would continue taking the squad as normal until a new manager is appointed – with former Dundee United boss Peter Houston expected to be unveiled imminently as full-time successor to John McGlynn.

Locke, however, said he had yet to be told if and when the appointment would be announced.

“If they bring somebody new in, then great,” said Locke who, after yesterday’s 0-0 draw with Hibernian, now has a defeat, a win and a draw since becoming interim manager. “If not we’ll just prepare the team as normal for the next game. The players are in tomorrow. It’s a big week coming up, we’ve got a final to look forward to and we’ll now focus on that. We’re training tomorrow then, if anything happens, I’m sure the club will let us know.

“I know Housty well but nothing’s been said at the moment. Housty was the youth coach when I was a Hearts player, so we go back a long way. But, until we get told anything different, we’ll just carry on.

“Myself, Darren [Murray] and Edgaras [Jankauskas] have enjoyed the last couple of weeks. I’ve said all along if a new manager comes in, then great – we can look ahead. But, until we’re told otherwise, we’ll carry on.”

After five defeats in a row, Hearts have now kept clean sheets in their last two games, and Locke was pleased by the organisation and determination they showed at Easter Road.

He said: “The main thing for me was to make sure we put in a battling performance. It was always going to be a battle and I thought the effort and commitment of the players was first-class. We’ve had a wee victory, we’ve got a draw. Hopefully now that’s us building a wee bit of momentum and we can take that into next week.

“I didn’t think it was a great game. It was never going to be a classic when you see the pitch. It was two teams whose effort and commitment was different class – I was really pleased with that, especially from our boys. But, in terms of quality and getting the ball down, there wasn’t a lot of that.

“But we had the better of the first half and I thought we could have got one or two goals, especially from set pieces. Second half, the game petered out. We had a few corners as well, but pretty scrappy to be honest.”

Locke accepted that Leigh Griffiths’ second-half free-kick was in, but he pointed out Hearts may also have had a penalty and argued that in both cases the referee’s decision was final. “To be fair, from where I was it was difficult to see, but then I’ve just seen it there and obviously it’s in,” he said of Griffiths’ “goal”.

“But the referee didn’t give it and that’s the most important thing. So there’s no point me sitting here worrying about that. It was a great strike, obviously it went over the line, but it’s one we’ve got away with. It did look as if it was a goal. But, when it went out, he gave a corner, you’ve just got to get on with it. Nowt I can do about that. Maybe the luck’s turning a wee bit for us now.

“When Calum Tapping was running through he went down. At the time you’re screaming for a penalty but, if the ref doesn’t give it, there’s nothing you can do about it now. Just accept it and get on with it.”