Prince Buaben has rebuilt his Hearts career and earned himself a future at Tynecastle just four months after being told he was free to go.
The Ghanaian midfielder is revitalised under new head coach Ian Cathro, who explained today that Buaben possesses specific qualities he admires.
Hearts were willing to let the player join Ross County in August but he failed to agree personal terms. He was then restricted to occasional substitute appearances under Cathro’s predecessor, Robbie Neilson.
Recent matches have seen him somewhat rejuvenated and he started Tuesday night’s impressive 4-0 win over Kilmarnock. Injury forced him off in the second half, but Cathro is hopeful he will be fit to face Aberdeen tomorrow evening.
“All I can go on is what happened from my first day here. Prince has shown me qualities that I want the team to have,” Cathro told the Evening News. “I put the qualities in the team and if they come from Prince or someone else, I want those qualities on the pitch.
“Prince has trained really well and worked well and I’ve been pleased with him. Everyone else has been the same, that’s why you have decisions to make.
“As it stands, Prince is a player who is giving value to the team and I don’t see any reason why that shouldn’t be the case tomorrow, or next week or the week after.
“I’m still going day-to-day with a lot of things so everybody has to keep their levels high and keep pushing themselves to the limit all the time. We don’t want to just stay at the same level and do okay. Every player has to constantly be improving.”
Buaben’s Hearts contract runs until summer 2018. He played against Kilmarnock despite still suffering the effects of a calf injury sustained against Partick Thistle two weeks ago.
He then hobbled off after a challenge in the second half and is slightly doubtful to face Aberdeen. “We hope he’ll be fit. He had the calf muscle injury which we managed,” explained Cathro. “I think he fought hard on Tuesday night. He took himself probably past his limit and we were keen to give him a break just before the tackle went in on him. It wasn’t the nicest of tackles. We just hope he’s an available option for tomorrow.”