Hearts midfielder Prince Buaben is set to sit out today’s Premiership match at home to Partick Thistle and is in a race to be fit in time for Tuesday’s Scottish Cup replay against Hibs.
The Ghanaian, who has started 25 of his team’s 28 competitive matches this season, limped off just ten minutes into Sunday’s Edinburgh derby at Tynecastle with a hamstring problem. He subsequently missed Wednesday’s 3-0 win at Ross County – the first game this season in which he didn’t feature at all – and is expected to remain on the sidelines today.
Robbie Neilson is hopeful that he will be able to call on the key midfielder for the trip to Easter Road. “Prince is struggling for Partick so we’re gearing him up for the game on Tuesday,” said the head coach. “He had a problem with his hamstring injury at the start of the season and he had another wee niggle in it on Sunday. He came off early but if he’d played on any longer, it could have been worse. Hopefully he’ll be alright for Tuesday.”
Captain Alim Ozturk is set to return to the side today after missing the win in Dingwall due to the tendon injury that forced him off against Hibs on Sunday. Jordan McGhee has also been declared fit after suffering from back spasms on Wednesday. “Ozturk will be ready for Partick,” said Neilson. “McGhee’s fine as well. He’ll be in the squad.”
Hearts can also call on Igor Rossi and Blazej Augustyn today after the two defenders completed suspensions on Wednesday. Neilson insists his team selection for the Thistle game won’t be influenced by the fact the much-hyped fifth-round replay against Hibs falls just three days later.
“The league’s our bread and better,” he said. “The cup games are great and we want to win cups but we have to remain consistent in the league. Getting a result against Partick will set us up well for Tuesday.”