First Team

True grit

29th January 2014

Gary Locke thrilled by character shown in tonight's comeback victory over St Mirren at Tynecastle.

Gary Locke was a delighted man after his young Hearts side recorded back-to-back victories for the first time in the SPFL Premiership this season, after a spirited victory over ten-man St Mirren.

Hearts got off to the worst possible start when Steven Thompson headed home from close range after only 30 seconds, but the boys in maroon recovered superbly with Callum Paterson equalising before the fourth minute of the match.

After Dale Carrick burst through on goal in the second half, Marc McAusland's last-ditch challenge brought 'Speedy' down to earn himself a red card and concede a penalty, which Jamie Hamill dispatched.

After the match, the gaffer told the media of his pride and admiration for his players as they notched up their second 2-1 victory on the spin, praising in particular the character the players showed after going a goal down.

"We showed character in abundance tonight, like we have all season, but this week has been great in particular", he explained. "The boys have had a real lift from the results this week, which is great going into the semi-final against Inverness on Sunday."

"You can tell we're still lacking that little bit of experience and composure at times, because the boys got a bit nervous when they were defending the lead, but they showed really good work-rate and commitment of playing for the cause tonight which I was delighted about."

The Jambos head into Sunday's Scottish League Cup semi-final clash with Inverness on the back of three games unbeaten , and are further aided by the return of suspension-free Ryan Stevenson, something about which the manager was thrilled.

"Ryan's back available for Sunday's game, but he'll have a hard job getting back in the side because some of these boys have had a chance to stake a claim for a place and they've certainly taken it in the past two game, but we can't even fill the bench just now so it's good to get a player of Ryan's quality back into the mix."

Lastly, the manager offered a short transfer update for supporters, confirming that it was his intention to try and boost the squad with the signing of two players in the next week.

"With Adam King leaving, and Alan Combe offering to step aside from the squad, that's given us scope to hopefully get two players in. We've made an application over one of them which will be heard next week, and we've done a bit of work on getting an U21 player in as well, so we'll hopefully find out soon."