Suspension rules Liam Smith out of Hearts opener

Liam Smith will be sidelined on the opening day of the league season
Liam Smith will be sidelined on the opening day of the league season
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Hearts will be without defender Liam Smith for the opening Premiership match of next season due to suspension.

The Scottish Professional Football League are due to release new fixture lists on Friday, but Smith will already miss the Edinburgh club’s first league match. He received six bookings in the Premiership last season – the final one against Celtic in the last match of the campaign – which triggered an automatic one-game ban.

With no league games left, the punishment carries over to the new season. That will leave the 21-year-old sidelined for the opening weekend.

Smith will be hoping to challenge to become Hearts’ first-choice right-back after Callum Paterson joined Cardiff City and Andraz Struna left on freedom of contract.

A graduate of the Riccarton youth academy, he is eager to establish himself as a permanent fixture at first-team level and won’t be happy sitting out just as the campaign begins.