Head coach Robbie Neilson today challenged Alim Ozturk to force his way back into the Hearts starting XI.
Ozturk, who has been replaced as club captain by Perry Kitchen, was suspended for the opening-day defeat to Celtic, and Igor Rossi and John Souttar have retained their places in the middle of the back four since. Ozturk’s only domestic outing to date is the 3-2 Betfred Cup loss to St Johnstone.
“It’s been difficult for Alim,” said Neilson. “The two players that came in, Igor and John, they had to be patient at the start of the season. Now it is a case of Alim working hard and getting his head right.
“When the team is winning, he has to be patient. At the end of the day, it is all about results. If we win, then it was the right team. If we lose, then the door starts chapping.”
Ozturk may be asking the question this week following last Saturday’s league defeat by St Johnstone. With Rossi having picked up his fifth caution of the season, another at home to Ross County this weekend would bring a suspension for the Brazilian and give Ozturk his opening.