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Locke sings Hearts praises

Hearts manager Gary Locke praised the battling qualities of his young side after their thrilling 4-2 victory over Partick Thistle at Firhill.

Last Updated: 07/04/14 at 10:27 Post Comment

Gary Locke: Leaves Firhill pitch after Hearts' relegation confirmed

Gary Locke: Leaves Firhill pitch after Hearts' relegation confirmed

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Goals from Dale Carrick, Billy King and two from Ryan Stevenson secured the victory but St Mirren's shock 3-2 defeat of Motherwell ultimately ended the Jambos' 33-year stay in Scotland's top flight.

Hearts, who were docked 15 points at the start of the season after entering administration, begin life in the Championship next term and Locke is hopeful the experience gained in the Premiership will help his charges bounce back at the first attempt.

"The players made me very proud," said Locke. "I thought we were excellent today.

"I'm obviously disappointed at going down but I think over the course of the

season I've said all along that the young players have improved, and the hard

work that we've put in all season is now coming to fruition.

"I said to the players before the game that there's no point in us worrying about what happens at St Mirren, we've got to do what we can do.

"We have improved over the course of the season, the young players have

certainly got better and I think you have seen that today. When they all click

we're a half-decent team.

"We've had a lot to deal with this year with not being able to sign players and the 15-point deduction, but it shows that without the points deduction we'd

have been in the mix with a really young side, so it's credit to the players.

"I thought they were fantastic today. We didn't get off to the best of starts but I thought our response was really good."

While Locke takes the positives from the performance and result, his Firhill counterpart Alan Archibald was left bewildered after his side failed to capitalise on their blistering start to the game.

Kris Doolan fired them in front on five minutes and two good chances to increase the advantage were squandered before Hearts hit four without reply.

A late Jordan McMillan drive proved a consolation for the home side who now find themselves below St Mirren in the relegation play-off spot.

"We stopped doing what we were doing very well," said Archibald. "We had imposed ourselves on the game, and from an early point of view, the way we set up was to do that and the game plan was working.

"But for some reason the lads took their foot off the gas. Partly maybe to Hearts getting into the game, but I thought we let them into the game.

"Not a lot changed tactically in the game, but we just took our foot off the gas and we stopped doing what we were doing that was causing Hearts problems,

like moving the ball quickly and keeping possession. We stopped doing all those things.

"We had a couple of chances at 1-0, but as we've found all season it's vital

that you take those chances because it can make a massive difference.

"We're back in that relegation play-off spot, we've been in it before and got out of it and we've got to get out of it again.

"It's in our own hands and when we go into the split of games, something's got to give in every match. But we've got enough in there to go and get out of this spot.

"We've got a break now that probably comes at a good time, we've got two weeks before we go to face Kilmarnock, but there's not a lot in it between any of the teams."

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S

terling needs to be told though that upon entering the Arsenal squad he will re-enact the final scene from Highlander where he will be thrown around a warehouse by cartoon dragons and then be a mere mortal that will only ever spend three to four weeks a season playing football and the rest on the physio's bed. There can be only one.....player available at The Emirates.

rodger's gusset
Arsenal interest in Sterling

T

he game changed in our favour when Carrick came on. We were able to play further up the pitch due to having a player who can give and go with the ball and keep possession. Yet barkley made some runs and Townsend scored a good goal but carrick's inclusion and chiellini's withdrawal made the biggest difference to the flow of the game

ricky villa
Hodgson: Barkley was brilliant

N

o, you've not silenced anyone Andros, i'm afraid. We know you can score a great goal, and it's really handy to have your direct running and willingness to shoot on the bench. But until you can do the other things expected of a winger (beat the man, put a decent cross in, stay wide etc) then you can't expect more than a regular cameo. Wonderful goal though, what a hit! No wonder Buffon wanted the shirt.

badwolf
Townsend: I've silenced critics

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