HEARTS teenager Callum Paterson is almost certain to miss the League Cup final after tearing ligaments in his foot. The initial prognosis for the midfielder’s recovery indicates he will be sidelined for months rather than weeks, which would render him unavailable for the Hampden Park showpiece against St Mirren on March 17.
Paterson, 18, is currently on crutches waiting on swelling to reduce around the injury. He will then consult a specialist for an exact recovery time, but Hearts have been told his absence is expected to be lengthy.
“Callum had an X-ray and a scan but it’s still very swollen,” explained John McGlynn, the Hearts manager. “He has to keep weight off it for a week until the swelling goes down, then he can go back for another scan to determine how he will be treated and hopefully get a better idea of how long he’s going to be out. We’ve been told months rather than weeks. That will be clarified better with the next scan.”
Paterson has featured in every match for Hearts this season when fit, having been promoted from the youth team following McGlynn’s appointment as manager last summer. He damaged his foot in training last week. Hearts’ medical staff are hopeful the injury may not be as bad as feared, but even a short recovery time would still leave the player struggling to be fit for the League Cup final.
McGlynn, meanwhile, warned of the dangers posed by Dundee ahead of tonight’s SPL match between the sides at Tynecastle. The Tayside club have beaten Hearts 1-0 in both previous meetings this
season and McGlynn wants his players to focus on the task in hand after the
exhilaration of reaching a cup final on Saturday.
“It does rankle with us that we’ve lost twice against them,” he continued. “We lost to them just after playing Liverpool because we had the worst possible start and lost a goal. Then we lost up there having beaten Dundee United in the League Cup quarter-final after extra-time and
penalties a few days before.
“We went through extra-time and penalties again last Saturday against Inverness. The one thing for us is Dundee played 24 hours
later on Sunday so I’m
hoping it’s more of a level playing field going into this game.
“We have to realise Dundee are fighting for their lives. They’re at the bottom of the table and they can’t afford to get any further adrift. I think they’re actually better than their league position. Our motivation is to get above Dundee United, Kilmarnock and Aberdeen and get into the top six.”