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7 of 042 -----L SPL A

Taouil driven to deliver derby victory

Chris Tait
Saturday 9 March 2013

MEHDI TAOUIL learned all there is to know about the Edinburgh derby when he moved to Scotland six years ago, whether he liked it or not.

It was less of a choice and more an occupational hazard of playing for Kilmarnock, where two seasons were spent sharing a car to training with Gary Locke and gaining a crash course in Hearts as a result.

The Moroccan was not so much submerged in the goings-on at the Edinburgh club as waterboarded with them; Locke seemingly intent on proving that, while the boy had been taken out of Tynecastle, he was not going to let that stop him from going on about the place.

It was perhaps inevitable Taouil would be driven to join Hearts in 2011, Locke having already returned to the club as a coach, and the years have done little to wear that relationship. Since being placed in charge, Locke has returned Taouil to the side after he had become something of a forgotten man in the early months of the campaign.

The midfielder has found a new sense of purpose in repaying that decision, starting by leaving a muddy footprint on the rug at the home of Hearts' neighbours. "I've never met someone who loves Hearts as much as he does," Taouil said. "If you wanted to talk in that car you had to speak about Hearts. I told him all the time to shut up."

There is a temptation to treat Locke as a chest-beating coach but that seems a somewhat simplistic perception of the 37-year-old since he has been shrewd enough to recall more experienced members of his squad in his two games in charge. "Lockey helps get us really motivated for these games, having him on the staff fires the boys up," said Taouil. "Everyone would be very, very happy for him [if Hearts won tomorrow]. Everyone wants to give everything for Lockey."

Taken from the Herald

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