Reports have speculated that the Tynecastle club could be on the brink of disaster following the collapse of club owner Vladimir Romanov’s former bank, Ukio Bankas, in Lithuania. Bankruptcy practitioners could call in £15million of the £25million total debt owed by the Edinburgh outfit, forcing the club into administration.
Locke is trying to focus on football matters but admits he may call Ibrox manager McCoist who was praised for holding the Glasgow club together following their demise into liquidation. Locke said: “Yeah, I could be spending a bit of time with Ally in the summer. I might phone him for a bit of advice. Hopefully that is not the case. We are moving in the right direction in terms of the wages which are now sustainable. I speak regularly to a lot of managers and coaches that I respect. But I hope it doesn’t come to (the point where I have to ask for Ally’s advice). I’m hoping we can look positively to the future.”
The Gorgie side face Aberdeen at Pittodrie in the final game of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League season but could face a points deduction next term if they enter administration in the summer. “That would be a nightmare for us,” admitted Locke. “But hopefully that will not be the case and we can bring in a few players that will make the squad better.”
Since the high of last May’s 5-1 Scottish Cup final thrashing of city rivals Hibernian, Hearts’ fortunes have headed south.
John McGlynn was axed as manager in February after winning just eight games of his 34 in charge, while first-team regulars such as Andy Driver and Ryan McGowan left as the club acted to slash its wage bill. The cutbacks were made imperative in the days after the club staved off a winding-up order launched by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs over a £450,000 tax bill, but only with the generosity of their fans. Hearts also agreed a repayment plan for a separate tax bill of more than £1.5million.
The Scottish Communities League Cup final was lost to St Mirren in a 3-2 defeat at Hampden in March while last Sunday’s 2-1 defeat by Hibs meant the club has failed to beat the Easter Road side at least once in a season for the first time since 2001.
All that has left Locke weary. He said: “Everyone connected to the club will be glad to see the back of this season. It’s not exactly been the greatest. Sunday was probably the lowest point.
“For me, being a Hearts man, it hurt and the manner that we played, well we just didn’t do well at all. Since I’ve taken over, the players have been fantastic with their effort and commitmentm, but on Sunday I felt that was lacking. I’ve certainly had a bad week. I watched the game again unfortunately.
I’d have been better watching Nightmare on Elm Street. I felt low at Hampden, but we put in a half-decent performance. When you get beat in the manner that we did on Sunday, it’s harder to take. I’d say I certainly felt lower on Sunday.
“We’ve spoken about it but I’d rather forget about it and try and finish the season on a high with three points at Aberdeen.”