Hearts have been hit with a major blow after confirming attacking midfielder Ryan Stevenson could be out of action for as long as six weeks.
The former Ipswich forward hobbled off 15 minutes from the end of Saturday’s 4-1 defeat to Dundee United after pulling up with a hamstring problem.
He underwent a scan on Tuesday and Hearts boss Gary Locke’s worst fears were confirmed yesterday when it emerged that the talisman has a tear on his hamstring, which means another spell out.
The 29-year-old has already missed two months of action with a knee injury and his latest lay-off leaves Locke with just two other players older than the administration-hit club’s squad average of 22.
The manager told Hearts’ official website: “It’s a massive blow for us and for Ryan. He pulled up during the Dundee United match last Saturday so we decided to send him for a scan to get to the bottom of it. We had a niggling feeling that it was something serious and that was confirmed when the results came back.
“There’s a tear on his hamstring so he’ll miss the next four to six weeks, which is less than ideal. It’s a shame for Ryan as he’s not long returned from a long spell out.
“One good thing though is that the lad is a quick healer, so hopefully he gets a bit of rest and then we can manage his return.”