Hearts pair vie for one place against Bairns

Brad McKay has been told he can leave Hearts but he might play this weekend. Pic: Greg Macvean
Brad McKay has been told he can leave Hearts but he might play this weekend. Pic: Greg Macvean
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Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson will choose between Jordan McGhee and Brad McKay to partner Danny Wilson at centre-back against Falkirk on Saturday.

Alim Ozturk must serve a one-game ban after accumulating six bookings and McGhee and McKay are in contention to step in.

Ozturk and Wilson remain Neilson’s first-choice centre-back pairing but the Turk’s enforced absence creates an opportunity for one of the deputies. McGhee, who signed a new two-and-a-half year contract only last week, is the favourite to get the nod. He started last week’s match against Rangers at Ibrox before it was abandoned due to snow after 24 minutes.

McKay is in talks with St Johnstone about a pre-contract move to McDiarmid Park but he will remain committed to Hearts until his deal expires this summer. Neilson stressed he would have no problem with McGhee or McKay partnering Wilson and will make a final decision later in the week.

“It will be between the two of them. I’ll decide in the next couple of days who is going to go in,” he told the Evening News today. “I’ve no issues with putting either of them into the team, to be honest. They’ve both been great this season when they’ve been called on so one of them will go into centre-back beside Danny.”

Osman Sow is in contention to make a first-team return against Falkirk following more than 12 weeks out with a thigh injury. He played the first 45 minutes for Hearts Under-20s last night as they won the ‘mini-derby’ 3-2 at Ainslie Park thanks to a last-minute penalty from Brad McKay.

James Keatings scored twice for a strong Hearts line-up.