sport

Locke braced for rejection

Hearts boss Gary Locke fears his squad will have to battle with stretched resources after the 1-0 reverse to Motherwell.

Locke's young team, who started the season on minus 15 points after the club entered administration, are now 20 points adrift of Ross County at the foot of the Scottish Premiership.

The Tynecastle club also have a transfer embargo and will discover the result of an appeal for dispensation on their signing ban on Monday.

Locke did not sound hopeful of getting a break from the league, but the Jambos manager did not attempt to blame the club's troubles on any outside parties.

"We will just see how Monday goes. It's a lot for 17- and 18-year-old kids to take on. I would love to have a couple of experienced players to help them on the pitch," Locke said.

"There's Jamie Walker come off there and the early signs are he might have done his metatarsal. So that would be a disaster for us. We will get a scan on Monday and see how it is.

"Kevin McHattie has to come off with a hamstring and if we lose Adam King, we lose another player.

"Today we had Gary Oliver on the bench who has not played for four weeks and probably shouldn't have been there. We had Callum Tapping on the bench when he was only half fit.

"So we are certainly struggling squad-wise. It would be great to get a help but we are in this situation because of the way this place has been run."

Motherwell boss Stuart McColl hailed his team's achievement of securing a sixth consecutive top-flight victory for the first time in 77 years.

"It wasn't something that was on the forefront of my mind," McCall said. "That's five wins away on the bounce.

"We had an opportunity to do that here a few years ago on Christmas Eve and Hearts beat us 2-0, so I was more aware of that stat.

"It's all down to the lads in the dressing room, they have bounced back terrifically well."