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Locke hoping Hearts can avoid liquidation

Hearts boss Gary Locke is still savouring Sunday's derby victory over Hibernian at Tynecastle but is "praying" that the Gorgie club wins a much more important battle against possible liquidation next week.

Barely had the celebrations from the 2-0 triumph over Terry Butcher's men subsided when reports revealed that the Jambos could face a doomsday scenario if a deal to take them out of administration is not agreed in the next few weeks.

BDO, the club's administrators, are waiting on majority shareholder UBIG's 50% shareholding to be transferred to supporters and their backers.

Businesswoman Ann Budge has offered to buy the shares from UBIG for around £2.5million on behalf of fans' group, Foundation of Hearts.

However, creditors of the Lithuania-based company, whose next meeting is April 7, have yet to sanction the proposal with one report claiming that one of UBIG's main creditors, Sualiu Bank, is unhappy with the terms.

Bryan Jackson, of BDO, told BBC Scotland: "We have to accept now that there is a threat of liquidation and we are doing everything we can to avoid it."

Ahead of the Scottish Premiership clash with Aberdeen at Tynecastle, where Hearts could have their inevitable relegation confirmed, Locke said: "It has been a long, hard, trying season for us, physically and mentally and all we can hope for is that we get over the line on the 7th of April.

"I have tried to be positive all season.

"We are coming off the back of a good result and hopefully we can get another big result next Monday.

"BDO have taken care of the club since day one of the season and they are the ones trying to get this deal done and I am confident that they can do that.

"I am just praying that everything goes well."

Locke once more praised his players for working through a season of uncertainty and no little turmoil where their Scottish Premiership fate was all but decided when they started the campaign with a 15-point deduction for entering administration.

The former Jambos skipper said: "It is probably a silly thing to say but the players have become used to it.

"Most of them have been here a period of time and Hearts are a massive club and there is always speculation so from that point of view the players have handed it magnificently well.

"We could be relegated tomorrow but as I've said from day one of this season, our biggest battle - and it hasn't changed - is for the club to still be alive and kicking.

"We just hope for a favourable outcome next Monday and then we can get back to being the Heart of Midlothian Football Club that everyone knows and love."

Locke, though, had a smile at the mention of one person who certainly does not love the Tynecastle club.

Ex-Hibs striker Leigh Griffiths was filmed on a mobile phone singing "Hearts are going bust" before the derby defeat.

The footage of the 23-year-old, who now plays for Celtic, was posted on YouTube where it spread like wildfire but Locke said: "I haven't seen it. Obviously you read about it and according to reports I've heard he is not a very good singer."

The Gorgie boss was more serious when discussing the task his side face against the Scottish League Cup winners who have a chance of making it a cup double this season and who are battling with Motherwell for second place in the league.

"We are up against a team who has had a great season," he said. "Derek McInnes and Tony Docherty have really turned the club around.

"They are full of experienced players and have a lot of talented young kids as well so we know how difficult it is going to be but after the result at the weekend, it is a game we can go into with confidence."

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