CALLUM TAPPING is favourite to replace the injured Jason Holt in Hearts’ starting line-up against Ross County tomorrow. The 20-year-old played as a substitute during the stirring second-half comeback against Aberdeen two weeks ago and is now in prime position for a midfield starting berth.
Holt underwent surgery yesterday after breaking the fifth metatarsal bone in his foot and will be out until next year. Tapping impressed manager Gary Locke with his performance at Pittodrie having been on the pitch while all three Hearts goals in the 3-1 win were scored. He is now expected to start beside Jamie Hamill in the centre of midfield, although Locke stressed he also has other candidates pressing for a slot in his team.
“Callum Tapping came in against Aberdeen and I thought he did very well,” said the manager. “Billy King has done well and Scott Robinson has looked good in training this week. There are a few options who could come in and take Jason’s place. I’m looking for a similar performance to the way we finished at Pittodrie.”
For the moment, Locke will keep Jamie Walker away from the central area because he feels he is more effective out wide. “Jamie has played in [Holt’s] position four or five times but I think, at the moment, when he gets the ball in a wider position he looks a lot more dangerous. That’s the reason he’s played there.
“The good thing about Jamie and boys like Callum Paterson is they’re adaptable and they can play different positions. That’s what we need at the minute.”