ROBBIE NEILSON today explained he is refusing to take any risks with striker Osman Sow because he must protect the Swede for Hearts’ title run-in.
Sow continues to suffer spasms in his thigh and Neilson, the club’s head coach, told the Evening News he will keep resting the player if necessary to avoid another torn muscle. The forward did not feature in either of Hearts’ last two matches after complaining of tightness in his thigh. He missed three months of the season between October and January after tearing a thigh muscle and Neilson is concerned about a possible recurrence in the same area.
The 24-year-old was expected to feature against Livingston at Tynecastle on Saturday. However, after the thigh tightened up on Friday, Hearts opted not to risk him. Neilson stressed that policy will continue with important games on the horizon in the quest to win the Championship.
“Osman is just taking a wee bit of time to get back from this thigh problem,” said Neilson. “He’ll do some training this week with a view to being ready for Saturday. I just didn’t want to take the risk with him at the weekend. He trained Thursday and Friday last week but he felt a bit tight on the Friday so I decided just to leave him out.
“He’s had a recurrence of the problem before and we don’t want it happening again. It’s the same thigh, although a bit higher up this time. It’s just a spasm from the problem before which is hurting a little bit. It would be good to get him back as soon as we can but there are still twelve games to go.
“Missing Saturday was a disappointment but there are other games coming up. It’s not a big issue for us if he misses a game. I could have pushed him and put him on the bench against Livingston, then used him for twenty minutes. The worry was I could do that and then it triggers the problem, so that’s the decision I made.”