Key Hearts duo will return for the run-in
IGOR ROSSI and Prince Buaben will be fit for Hearts' top-six assault after missing Tuesday's draw with Inverness.
Neither player was risked in the Highlands due to groin and hamstring injuries respectively. They will be rested this weekend as the Tynecastle club have no fixture.
Buaben should be available when top-six fixtures commence on Saturday week. Hearts visit Motherwell that day but Rossi must serve a suspension for breaching the yellow card threshold.
The Brazilian defender received his sixth caution of the campaign against Celtic earlier this month, triggering an automatic one-match SFA ban.
Head coach Robbie Neilson confirmed today that both Rossi and Buaben are expected to recover from the niggling problems which ruled them out.
“They both picked up knocks against Aberdeen last Friday night and didn’t quite make it for Inverness,” he said.
“Igor had a groin problem which he’s been nursing for the last six weeks and he just wasn’t ready. Prince had a problem with his hamstring and was in a similar position. They’ll both be fine for after the split, although Rossi is banned for the first game.
“That’s a blow because he’s been one of our main players this season. It’s that time of year when every team is starting to pick up one-game bans or two-game bans because the bookings start mounting up.
“Rossi has been great at left-back and centre-back. Every time I’ve asked him to play in any position, he’s probably been one of the standout players in our team.”
Neilson was also relieved to see Callum Paterson return from injury on Tuesday after a six-week absence.
The right-back suffered a torn shoulder ligament in late February but started on the substitutes’ bench and replaced the injured Miguel Pallardo after 38 minutes.
He looked comfortable during the remainder of the game and will be an important player during the final few weeks of the Premiership campaign.
“I’m delighted to get him back,” said Neilson.
“He’s a big player for us. You saw the difference he made as soon as he came on because he got forward and nearly scored a goal. He’s got energy, he’s got pace and we need that in our team. It was great to see Callum playing again.”