Paulo Sergio considers throwing David Templeton back into Hearts side for semi-final

Hearts manager Paulo Sergio says his side will treat the cup final as a normal match. Picture: SNS
Hearts manager Paulo Sergio says his side will treat the cup final as a normal match. Picture: SNS
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PAULO SERGIO is contemplating starting David Templeton in Hearts’ Scottish Cup semi-final with Celtic tomorrow despite the winger missing seven weeks of football with a groin injury.

Templeton was expected to begin as substitute at Hampden Park after resuming full training at the start of the week. However, Sergio revealed that he is considering naming the 23-year-old in his starting XI. “Templeton, after seven weeks, started working with the team on Monday. He will be available but, after seven weeks, you don’t know,” said the Hearts manager.

“I think he is physically ready. Maybe not to play 90 minutes but, if I want to use him, I can. He can be on the bench or I can start with him, see how long he can play for.

“Sometimes, when I have doubts, I prefer to start with a player like that and see how long he lasts. When he dies, another one goes in. Having a guy on the bench, when you have doubts about him, you are not so sure about throwing him in and the improvement you might get. Sometimes I prefer to put him on at the start and see what he can do.”

Andy Webster will definitely start in central defence after sitting out last weekend’s SPL victory at Dunfermline. Striker Craig Beattie has a hip complaint but is also expected to play. “I think we have Webster recovered, he is ready to play. We have some doubts about Beats, we will see,” added Sergio.

The Portuguese is confused by the Scottish Cup ruling which permits only five substitutes on the bench instead of the regulation seven in the SPL. “This cup has a rule that nobody speaks about – just having four players and a goalkeeper on the bench,” continued Sergio.

“I don’t see how football wins, how Scottish football wins, with this. I would prefer the normal situation. I don’t know too many competitions that are like this. Clubs have a squad and we are reducing the chances for a lot of players to be involved. We are also reducing the options of managers, so it’s very hard to pick a squad for a cup game here in Scotland.”