IAN BLACK today declared himself ready to face Rangers as he prepares to take a pain-killing injection to combat bruised ribs and take the field at Ibrox.
The Hearts midfielder sustained the injury in a collision with Dundee United’s Jon Daly last weekend and was considered doubtful for tomorrow’s visit to Glasgow.
However, he explained to the Evening News that he is determined to play in the match, even if it means an anaesthetic injection to dull the pain.
“I’m still sore but I’ve been training and I’ll look to have an anaesthetic to numb it for the game,” said Black. “I’m available to play and that’s pleasing because I thought the injury was worse than what it is.
“It’s still awkward when I’m running but I want to play every game so I’m making myself available. I got the injury as I came across Jon Daly during last week’s game. He jumped and he caught my ribs with his knee. It’s just a bad knock. Just bruising, nothing more.”
Paulo Sergio, the Hearts manager, anticipates facing a fully motivated Rangers team tomorrow as the administration process takes effect at Ibrox. “I believe they are going to be angry and with lots of energy to play their game,” he said. “They are professionals, honest people and even when we are not happy with the situations, we go onto the pitch and fight for our lives and jerseys. So maybe they are more alert with a lot of desire to go out onto the pitch, so our players should be ready. We should be ready to face a team that, not only has their normal focus on football but also wants to show sympathy for their supporters who are backing the team.”
Sergio also revealed that he has begun discussions with the Hearts board over plans for next season. The Portuguese coach, out of contract this summer, stressed that he will fulfil his duties at Tynecastle even if told he has no long-term future there. “There are some things we are speaking about because we have to change the way things have been done so we don’t have the same problems next season,” he said.
“I’m going to do that if I have a contract for next season or not. You can imagine if our board comes to me tomorrow and says I won’t be here next season I’ll accept that and I will do my job until the last day and even, if possible, with more focus.
“We started talking two or three weeks ago about how we should live and manage the club so the club has a great future for at least another 100 years. We have to find a way to do it, and there are two ways we can do so. We can do it with money to build the strongest team possible, or without and betting on our younger players and younger players we can find elsewhere. The age is the important thing because maybe you need to try and improve the players and sell them in the future. The only thing I have to say right now is I am very proud. I love the club, I love the city and I am happy to be here. And if I am not going to be here next season, believe me, it won’t affect the way I do my job until the end of the season.”