Pressure on both Edinburgh clubs, says Hearts boss Locke

By Brian McLauchlinBBC Scotland
Media conference - Hearts manager Gary Locke

Gary Locke says there is pressure on Hearts and Hibernian ahead of the season's first Edinburgh derby following defeats for both last week.

And for the hosts, the need for points is more pressing with Locke's Hearts yet to make a dent in their 15-point deduction for entering administration.

"It's important to put pressure on the teams above straight away," said Locke.

"We will try to improve on last week, we are a young side who are learning all the time."

Hibs were beaten 1-0 at home by Motherwell before Hearts lost by a solitary goal at St Johnstone.

And though Hearts struggled in Perth, Locke is confident his inexperienced squad can turnaround the club's fortunes.

"We have got players who are capable of creating things in the final third of the pitch," said the former Hearts captain.

"It's not something I am overly worried about. We have worked hard in training all week and we hope our flair players can show their true qualities this weekend.

"Hibs will be looking to get their season up and running while we are trying to dig into a 15-point deduction.

"I think we are both under pressure. I don't think there is any more pressure on them than there is on us."

Hearts goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald
MacDonald feels experienced Hearts players must bear more of a burden this season

Goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald believes it's important experienced players like himself, Jamie Hamill and Ryan Stevenson take on more responsibility within the Tynecastle dressing room this season.

John Sutton, Marius Zaliukas, Andy Webster and others left the club this summer and a signing ban triggered by the club's insolvency event means Locke has had to turn to younger players to replace those who have departed.

"There is a lot of responsibility been placed on our shoulders," explained MacDonald.

"Normally when a young player comes into the team there is a group of experienced players there. Normally it's only one or two youngsters that come in but this time it's the other way about.

"I think it's maybe a bit easier for them to handle, given there are maybe 14 or 15 of them.

"I know when I came into the first team it was a pretty intimidating place. We had Steven Pressley and Paul Hartley - big characters - so it may help the younger players that there are so many of them.

"The message for the young boys is to go out and enjoy it. It [the Edinburgh derby] is one of the games you look forward to in the fixture calendar because of the atmosphere.

"This is what you live for. This is what football is all about."

Meanwhile, the Foundation of Hearts group bidding to take control of the Tynecastle outfit have responded to reports that rival bidder Angelo Massone wishes to engage in discussions with the foundation.

A spokesman for the group said Massone "has not genuinely engaged with the foundation at any point".


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