Hearts striker Paul McCallum should be available for this weekend’s trip to Motherwell despite being forced off through injury against Celtic.
The on-loan West Ham United player was withdrawn with a foot complaint early in the second half on Saturday, but manager Gary Locke believes he will be able to continue playing through the problem.
McCallum has a bursa – a small lump filled with fluid – on the back of his heel which causes friction against his boot. He complained about it at half-time in the 2-0 defeat by Celtic and received treatment. Ultimately, he felt unable to continue due to the pain and was replaced by Dale Carrick after 52 minutes.
The foot has since been rested and Locke is confident the forward will be training this weekend ahead of the trip to Fir Park. “He’s got a knock on the back of the heel and this lump is causing him a bit of a problem. It keeps rubbing on his boot and he’s really uncomfortable,” explained the manager.
“We had a look at it at half-time on Saturday and tried to strap it up but you could see he wasn’t moving very well. Losing him was a blow because his physical presence up there was causing Celtic one or two problems. The gameplan was for Paul to play up there and then, with maybe half an hour to go, get Speedy [Dale Carrick] on beside him to try and trouble them. Unfortunately, we had to take Paul off and put Speedy on in his place.
“It wasn’t ideal and it’s a blow to lose him but hopefully he’ll be okay for next week. It’s been a wee injury he’s had before. It’s rubbing away all the time and the more it rubs, the worse it’s going to get. He felt it was too sore to continue so we had to take him off. We’ll give him a couple of days to recover and I think he’ll be okay for next week.”
n HEARTS Under-20s cruised into the semi-finals of the SFA Youth Cup with a comfortable 3-0 win over Queen’s Park at Tynecastle yesterday. Goals from Carrick, Gary Oliver and Nathan Flanagan secured a place in the last four, much to the delight of coach Robbie Neilson.
Hearts recalled Jordan McGhee and Carrick to the starting line-up in an otherwise familiar looking side from recent weeks. Both teams took time to settle on a fine surface which was hosting its second game in 24 hours.
Both sides had reasonable attempts at goal before Carrick opened the scoring on 26 minutes with a close-range deflected shot. That goal separated the teams at the break.
Hearts began the second half strongly and Oliver came close with two fine efforts before the striker added a second goal on the hour mark, heading home a Billy King cross at the back post. Seven minutes later, Flanagan side-stepped a defender before firing home a brilliant 25-yard shot.
It was now almost one-way traffic with Hearts almost adding to the scoreline on numerous occasions. Neilson was delighted with the final outcome, adding that the performance of the whole side was first class.