Prince Buaben banned for game against Livingston

Prince Buaben. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Prince Buaben. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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Hearts midfielder Prince Buaben is suspended for the league match at Livingston on Saturday, February 7, the Evening News can reveal.

The Ghanaian midfielder was booked for the sixth time in the Championship this season during Saturday’s defeat by Falkirk and must now serve a one-match ban.

Buaben has been a mainstay of the Hearts midfield this season alongside Morgaro Gomis but will sit out next month’s match at the Energy Assets Arena. He was cautioned in the 79th minute of Saturday’s game for a late tackle on Falkirk’s Rory Loy. That pushed him through the Scottish Football Association’s disciplinary threshold of six bookings.

Spaniard Miguel Pallardo would be most likely to deputise for Buaben in central midfield. He has dropped out of the starting line-up in recent weeks as head coach Robbie Neilson returned to a 4-4-2 formation.

Buaben is available for this Saturday’s teatime fixture against Alloa, although it remains to be seen whether he keeps his starting place. Neilson is contemplating one or two changes to his team after Falkirk consigned Hearts to their first league defeat of the season last week. Turkish defender Alim Ozturk is available again after serving his own one-match suspension last weekend. He is expected to return to central defence alongside club captain Danny Wilson.

Meanwhile, Hearts’ teenage midfielder Angus Beith will stay on loan at Stirling Albion until the end of the season. The 18-year-old moved to Forthbank in November on an emergency loan, which Hearts have agreed to extend until May to give Beith more first-team experience.