Locke relief as McKay returns unscathed

HEARTS manager Gary Locke can breath a sigh of relief after Brad McKay confirmed he will be fit to feature in the Jambos’ Friday night football clash with Partick Thistle.

The defender was the victim of a late challenge from Liverpool starlet Raheem Sterling on Tuesday as Scotland under-21s were thrashed 6-0 by their English counterparts in Sheffield. McKay, 20, was left in agony, clutching his ankle – a scene which will have put Locke’s heart in his mouth, given the Tynecastle boss has already lost one pivotal first-team player for a lengthy spell. Ryan Stevenson was ruled out for up to three months after suffering medial ligament damage in his knee following a derby-day clash with Hibs’ Rowan Vine. “I can’t afford any more injuries or we will really be struggling,” admitted Locke this week.

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However, McKay has delivered the news his gaffer was desperate to hear – there was no lasting damage and the youngster will be fit to take his place alongside Danny Wilson at the heart of the defence at Firhill tomorrow.

All of Hearts’ youth internationals appear to have returned unscathed, albeit yesterday was a rest day for the squad and they will be fully assessed this morning ahead of the trip to Glasgow.

McKay, Jack Hamilton, Kevin McHattie, Jason Holt, Jamie Walker and David Smith were all part of the Scotland under-21 squad which was hammered at Bramall Lane.