Hearts v Kilmarnock: Locke promises positive play

Gary Locke, left, adopted a more defensive approach against Celtic on Saturday. Picture: TSPLGary Locke, left, adopted a more defensive approach against Celtic on Saturday. Picture: TSPL
Gary Locke, left, adopted a more defensive approach against Celtic on Saturday. Picture: TSPL
Gary Locke has promised Hearts fans they will see a Jambos side with a more positive attitude when they face Kilmarnock at Tynecastle on Boxing Day.

The Gorgie boss had no qualms with adopting a defensive mindset to take on Celtic at Parkhead on Saturday following their 7-0 thrashing by the Hoops in the Scottish Cup at the start of the month.

The Scottish Premiership’s bottom side left Glasgow with confidence intact despite a 2-0 defeat but Locke will ensure his side go looking for goals against Killie.

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“Thursday is completely different because we are playing at home so we owe it to the fans to go and try to win the game,” he said.

“We have to do that anyway because we need the points.

“So it will certainly be a different Hearts performance, we can’t just sit back, we have to have a go.

“With being the home team it is up to us to break Kilmarnock down.

“On Saturday, we showed that we learned from the last time we played Celtic.

“I am not happy because we lost but there were a lot of positives to take from the game.

“We were well organised and limited Celtic to few chances.

“It is not the way I want Hearts to play but you have to be realistic.

“With the injuries we had and the strength of the squad, we could only have four outfield players on the bench but the boys battled well.”

Locke pinpointed Killie striker Kris Boyd as the biggest danger to his side.

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The former Rangers and Middlesbrough player, 30, scored a double when Hearts lost 2-0 at Rugby Park in October and he took his tally for the season to nine on Saturday with a goal in the 2-1 home win over Partick Thistle.

Locke said: “It will be a difficult game, Kilmarnock are coming off the back of a good win and we will have to be on our toes.

“The last time down there, Kris Boyd punished our two mistakes so we know how dangerous he can be.

“He has that instinct. When the ball comes in the box he will stick a leg out or stick his head out.

“He is a natural goalscorer and every team in the league would be over the moon to have someone like Kris Boyd in their team.

“But it is about us. We have to concentrate on ourselves and hopefully if we can put in a similar performance to the weekend in terms of organisation and commitment, and hopefully get a few more bodies forward, then hopefully we can cause them a few problems.”

After being docked 15 points and banned from signing players for descending into administration, there is little surprise that the Tynecastle side are adrift at the bottom of the table, on minus three points, 14 behind second-bottom Ross County.

However, midfielder Callum Tapping is confident that relegation can be avoided.

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He said: “I still think we can do it, Definitely, 100 per cent.

“The next six weeks will be a big period for us, we need to start eating into the points (gap) of teams who are near to us in the table and who are catchable.”