Callum Tapping is a major doubt to face Celtic

Callum Tapping, left, and Paul McCallum at training
Callum Tapping, left, and Paul McCallum at training
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Hearts medical staff will today assess Callum Tapping’s knee injury before deciding whether the midfielder can face Celtic on Saturday.

The player is rated as a major doubt due to pain in his knee which ruled him out of last weekend’s trip to Inverness.

Tapping sustained the injury in the Under-20 derby against Hibs last week and is still recovering. Manager Gary Locke is keen to have him available but will not take any risks with the 20-year-old. A decision on his fitness was due to be taken today following consultations with physios at Riccarton.

“Callum pulled out of the Inverness game last Friday morning with a knee injury,” explained Locke. “He played against Hibs Under-20s on the Tuesday night and trained on the Thursday but was feeling his knee. He came in on Friday and was still feeling so we had to pull him out. He’ll be assessed again today.”

Callum Paterson and Kevin McHattie are available to face Celtic after missing the 0-0 draw with Inverness through suspension. Both could be reinstated to the starting line-up for the lunchtime match at Tynecastle.

Jason Holt played for Hearts Under-20s against St Mirren last night in his first game for three months following a broken metatarsal. He is likely to start on the substitutes’ bench, where he found himself against Inverness following the late withdrawal of Tapping.

“Jason had only trained for a week and was miles away from playing but we didn’t have much strength in depth on the bench last week,” said Locke. “We had Billy King, Gary Oliver and Angus Beith as our outfield players. I felt if we needed Jason for 15 minutes or so then I could’ve used him but I didn’t really want to. He’s been out for three months.”