Gary Locke enjoys punching lumps out of a Hibernian-daft pal when they box each other every week at the gym, but he is convinced that true fans of their capital rivals do not want to deliver the fatal knock-out blow to Hearts' hopes of avoiding liquidation.

Hearts joint administrator Bryan Jackson will attend a crucial creditors' meeting in Lithuania on Monday, when it is hoped the administrators of fallen companies Ukio Bankas and UBIG will get the green light from their own creditors to approve the key next stage of a £2.5m Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) and pass almost 80% of shares in Hearts to Ann Budge's BIDCO vehicle.

However, it has been claimed that Hibs fans have been trying to sabotage the rescue package by deluging the Lithuanian administrators with emails highlighting concerns over the value of the deal, Budge's personal wealth and the likely value of Tynecastle on the open market.

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However, Locke insisted yesterday that "serious football fans" would never want Hearts to disappear completely, because the rivalry of the Edinburgh derbies means too much to those on both sides of the divide.

He said: "If you speak to a sensible football fan in Edinburgh, they'll tell you how much [the derby] means to them. If you were at the game on Sunday, speak to the players, anyone involved with Hibs or Hearts, they're great games to be involved in.

"That's not just true for me but for all the fans, for the worldwide audience that watch on TV. It's great to be at, a brilliant atmosphere. It will be a huge loss.

"I've not really got a lot of Hibs friends, but those I do meet say they want the club to survive. The only Hibs fan I'm really pally with is a big guy called George Ramsay, who goes to the same gym as me. To switch off, I do a bit of boxing on a Wednesday morning and it's great that we get to punch lumps out of one another. Who wins the fights? Who do you think?

"But he's the same. He says he'll miss the game - and he's Hibs daft. A lot of Hibs fans feel the same.

"We've seen the same with the Old Firm. Without a shadow of a doubt, Celtic miss Rangers. For the sake of Scottish football, we want all the big games. You want a Dundee derby, an Old Firm game, a Hearts-Hibs game, Aberdeen-Dundee United."

Unless Hibs are also relegated next month, the Edinburgh derby will disappear for at least one season, with Hearts steeling themselves for relegation this afternoon, when they travel to Firhill to play Partick Thistle.

The Tynecastle side have produced magnificently defiant displays to defeat Hibs and draw with Aberdeen in the past week, but they know that even a win away to Partick Thistle will not be enough to stave off the inevitable for another week if St Mirren get even a draw at home to Motherwell.

Locke added: "All I'm worried about is our game. St Mirren have their own reasons for wanting to win but we've got to go to Partick and try and win."

Anything less than a victory and Hearts will finally slip into the Championship.