Hearts fans deserve derby win says manager Gary Locke

Hearts manager Gary Locke is determined to avoid relegation at the hands of Edinburgh rivals Hibernian.

Following the 2-1 home loss to Dundee United, Hearts remain 21 points adrift of 11th place in the Premiership with just eight matches remaining.

If those above them pick up points on Saturday and next midweek, Hibs could be the team to confine Hearts to the drop at Tynecastle a week on Sunday.

"It's a big game next Sunday and one we certainly need to win," said Locke.

Hearts, who started the season on -15 points for entering administration, have only won twice at home all season, with one of those an early derby success.

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Our biggest battle this season is off the pitch - the most important thing is that we survive

Gary Locke

And, while Locke is resigned to the club dropping down to the second tier for the first time since 1982, he is asking his young side to put on a good show for the fans that have backed them through a troubled campaign.

"It's what our supporters deserve," added Locke looking ahead to the visit of Hibs.

"Everyone knows the situation we're in and the fans were right behind the cause again tonight.

"To get 13,500 on a Friday night is nothing short of incredible. We can't thank the fans enough."

Supporters group Foundation of Hearts is waiting for permission from the administrators representing the failed Lithuanian businesses of former owner Vladimir Romanov to sign off on a £2.5m rescue package that will see businesswoman Ann Budge take control.

A creditors' meeting for the club's majority shareholder UBIG is due to take place next Friday.

"Our biggest battle this season is off the pitch - the most important thing is that we survive," continued Locke.

"And we're all hopeful that it's all positive next Friday.

"This is a massive football club and we have a big rebuilding job ahead but, with the backing we're getting from the stands, I'm sure we can get back up to where we should be."

Hearts' latest defeat came after Brian Graham's close-range opener and a fantastic strike from Nadir Ciftci, although Danny Wilson's header gave the hosts hope late on.

"It's probably been the story of the season," explained Locke. "We put a lot into the game but that seems to be have been the way things have gone for us.

"Their second goal is a fantastic finish and you have to give the lad credit.

"The players give the football club everything and as a manager that's all you can ask for.

"I've said all season that we are lacking that bit of experience and you can see that tonight with Dundee United - their experienced players do a fantastic job for them."