First Team

Locke: That was for the fans

30th March 2014

Gary Locke insists there will be no more sleepless nights after Hearts escape relegation for today, as Hibs defeated at Tynecastle.

Triumphant Hearts manager Gary Locke hailed his young stars as they won their 3rd Edinburgh derby of a difficult season in front of a packed Tynecastle in today's lunchtime kick-off.

Goals from Dale Carrick and Billy King ensured Hearts lived to fight another day, as the brave boys in maroon ensured the home support earned the bragging rights in the city once more, after a week of discussion that today could be the day the Jambos were relegated.

After the match, a beaming Gary met with the press to discuss just how much today's result had meant to him, and to everyone associated with Heart of Midlothian Football Club.

"That meant everything to us today", he said. "It was important for us to give something back to the fans after a long hard season. There haven't been many games where we haven't competed this season, so it was good to get a favourable result today."

Throughout the season, the young Hearts squad have struggled to compete physically against more experienced opposition, but the gaffer felt they were finally starting to see the benefit of their exposure to first team football, as smaller players like Jason Holt, Dale Carrick and Sam Nicholson shone with their hard-working displays.

"The boys have worked so hard at getting stronger this season, they've put in serious hours at the gym and you're seeing the results of that now. Before, the lads were getting brushed off the ball but now we're competing a lot better."

St Mirren's draw at the Caledonian Stadium put Hearts in the precarious position of knowing that defeat today would ensure relegation from the SPFL Premiership. The manager was defiant in his belief that today would not be that day, saying that the supporters didn't deserve to see their team go down in such circumstances.

"We couldn't affect what happened at Inverness, so we approached this no differently than normal - it was a derby, and we were always going to try to win it. We knew what would happen if we lost, and we weren't going to let that happen."

"It was never going to be Hibs that relegated us, it was the whole scenario of the points deduction and the inexperienced squad, but I still used it in the team talk and the boys were under no illusions as to how important it was to win today."

"It's been a long hard season for us all, but I knew just how important it was to win today. The supporters have had a hard time, so they deserved it. I had a sleepless night, one of many this season, but I think I'll sleep a lot better tonight."