Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson believes Scott Robinson can still play his part this season despite labelling him surplus to requirements.
The 22-year-old midfielder made his first appearance in two months as a substitute on Sunday, and Neilson admitted he was impressed with his display despite the 4-0 defeat by Celtic.
With Morgaro Gomis sitting out Hearts’ next two matches through suspension, Robinson will battle with Prince Buaben, Miguel Pallardo and Jason Holt for a central midfield place.
He was told in August along with David Smith that he could leave Tynecastle for free, but Neilson today praised Robinson’s attitude and commitment to the cause since then.
“Scott is employed by us. He works hard every day,” said the head coach. “If I need him to play then he’s ready to play. He’s found it hard this season because people have been in the team ahead of him. Guys have been consistently doing well but Scott and I talk about it a lot. We spoke last week about it.
“I’ve told him he just has to continue working hard because he’s a professional footballer. I couldn’t ask any more of him. His attitude has been great every day in training.
“I’ve spoken to him about the situation. It can be difficult for him to stay motivated but I’ve had no issues with him at all. He did well when he came on for us on Sunday.”