KEVIN McHATTIE ended three months of injury torment last night when he returned to action with Hearts Under-20s.
The left-back played an hour of the Development League match with St Mirren at the Excelsior Stadium in Airdrie – his first game at any level since November 22 last year.
A reckless tackle by Rangers’ Kenny Miller that day at Tynecastle saw McHattie stretchered off with damaged medial ligaments in his knee. A six-week absence was forecast by doctors but he has taken twice as long to recover from the injury and missed a total of 12 first-team games.
McHattie resumed full training two weeks ago but was pulled out of last week’s Development League match with St Johnstone after his groin tightened during the warm-up. Last night, he played from the start and lasted 60 minutes as Hearts Under-20s lost 2-1 to St Mirren. He will now aim to return to the senior side as soon as possible and could be included in the squad for Saturday’s match with Cowdenbeath at Tynecastle, provided he suffers no negative reaction to last night’s outing.
“It’s good to get him back,” said Robbie Neilson, the Hearts head coach. “He’s been training well and he’s looking good, so it’s pleasing to have him available again. It gives us a few more options, a bit of cover in the left-back area and a wee bit more competition in defence. He just had an issue with his groin the last time and it tightened up so we’ll see how he is later in the week.”