Hearts: Inexperience is costing us, says Gary Locke

Hearts manager Gary Locke concedes inexperience is a major factor behind his side's inability to see out games.

The Midlothian outfit were a goal ahead against Motherwell through a Ryan Stevenson strike.

But substitute Craig Moore restored parity with a 30-yard effort before Shaun Hutchison's late winner.

Asked if inexperience was a reason why Hearts keep letting leads slip, Locke told BBC Scotland: "Yes it is, but there's nothing we can do about it."

Kilmarnock's victory over Ross County extended the gap between bottom-placed Hearts and Killie to 13 points and, with the sides to meet each other next week, Locke is aware of the importance of picking up points as soon as possible.

"We're a young team and we've certainly got to win quick," said Locke, who praised counterpart Stuart McCall.

"We were playing against a good, experienced side. I was pleased with the performance.

"The first half was pretty scrappy, but in the second half we came out the traps, passed the ball well and looked dangerous.

"We got a goal in front and looked comfortable, but then Stuart makes the best substitution he is probably going to make all season, as the young lad comes on and smacks one from 30 yards.

"That was a body blow for us and there's nothing you can do about that as it was a fantastic strike.

"However, I was a bit disappointed with the way we defended the second goal. We have to make sure we win the header and not let Hutchison get a header in the area."

Despite the defeat, which keeps Hearts firmly rooted to the bottom, Locke is determined to make sure confidence and morale of his young side does not drop.

"It's always going to be difficult, but the important thing is we keep our heads up," he continued. "It's another sore one for us, but if we keep believing and trying to play then we can hopefully turn it around."

Locke was hoping for a change of fortunes against Kilmarnock.

"You've got to look at winning that game as the gap is getting bigger and we can't afford for it to increase further," he added.

"We knew it would be a difficult season and we've got to try to keep these teams within touching distance.

"Everybody is really down in the dressing-room. They put in a fantastic commitment, but we just don't be seem to be getting the breaks.

"But hopefully that will turn for us, we all have to stick together. At the moment, it seems to be that everything is going against us, but we just need to take that on the chin."