Gary Locke was an unhappy man in the wake of Hearts' heartbreaking penalty shootout loss to nine-man Inverness Caledonian Thistle today at Easter Road.
Having fallen behind to Greg Tansey's long-range effort, the Jambos were handed a boost when Gary Warren was dismissed for bringing down Dale Carrick, and Jamie Hamill scored from the free kick. Two minutes later, Hamill repeated his trick with a wonderful curling effort.
In stoppage time, with Hearts seeing the game out, Josh Meekings was dismissed for a rash tackle on Scott Robinson. However, with the ball in the corner, it was given away with less than a minute left, and Inverness broke up the park to level through Nick Ross.
The game went to penalties and Inverness were victorious after scoring four kicks to two. After the match, the gaffer revealed his unhappiness at how sloppy his side had been.
"It's very difficult to take", he explained. "We can only blame ourselves, we had the ball in the corner and stupidly gave it away, then they went up the park and scored."
"We didn't move the ball quick enough in extra time either, we tried to force things and got caught running with it, then the final ball let us down. Inverness defended well but we made it easy for them."
"We showed a lot of character to come back from a goal down, then we stupidly give the ball away like that, it's inexcusable."
Jamie Hamill won the sponsors' man of the match award after his set-piece double, but sadly missed a vital spot-kick in the shootout. Despite this, the manager found the time to compliment Jamie for his top drawer display.
"I thought Jamie was outstanding and it's just unfortunate that he's missed his penalty, but he was superb today and he's been excellent for us this season".
Lastly, the manager sought to clarify that inexperience would not be used as an excuse today, simply stating that his side should have known better and can only blame themselves for the result.
"We had a few experienced players on the pitch today. Again, if you have the ball in the corner with a minute left and give it away, what more can you say? We can only blame ourselves. We've thrown it away."