Callum Tapping set for return to Hearts squad

Callum Tapping

Callum Tapping

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Callum Tapping will return to the Hearts first-team squad for Saturday’s trip to Motherwell provided he suffers no reaction to a tweaked hamstring picked up in last night’s Under-20s match against Rangers.

The midfielder made a goalscoring comeback as the young Jambos drew 1-1 at Murray Park. Tapping has missed the last two first-team matches with a knee complaint but managed 85 minutes last night and gave his team the lead from the penalty spot in the first minute.

Tapping was withdrawn as a precaution five minutes from the end, but Hearts Under-20s coach Robbie Neilson praised the player’s contribution.

“I thought he played well,” said Neilson. “He would probably admit himself that he’s had a wee difficult period [at first-team level] because he’s played here and there, been a bit-part in the team and had a couple of injuries.

“It’s nice to see him back in and playing the way he can play with a smile on his face. I think he enjoyed it. I spoke to him before the game and told him to enjoy it, pass the ball and do well. That’s what he did.

“He had a wee tight hamstring before the game and it started to flare up before the end so we took him off as a precaution. He’s a first-team player so he’ll be in with the first-team squad. This was a chance for him just to get back playing.”

Tapping opened the scoring after Nathan Flanagan was tripped by Chris Hegarty. Hearts were the better team in the first half but Rangers emerged strongly. They equalised on 58 minutes when Charlie Telfer drove a powerful left-footed shot past Mark Ridgers.

Hearts midfielder Jason Holt was due to play but he suffered a minor reaction from his recent foot injury in training.