Hearts ace Beni Baningime out until next season with knee injury

Hearts midfielder Beni Baningime will miss the rest of this season after damaging his cruciate ligament, the Tynecastle club have announced.

The 23-year-old sustained the knee injury during the recent 2-0 league win over Livingston, where Baningime opened the scoring for the hosts.

The former Everton youngster leapt over a challenge from Ayo Obileye before landing awkwardly. He walked off of his own power but scans have confirmed Hearts’ worst fears with him needing a lengthy spell on the sidelines to recover. He won’t be back until next season with boss Robbie Neilson saying his player has a long “journey” ahead of him.

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The Hearts head coach told the club website: “First and foremost we’re all gutted for Beni. He came here to play football and, as everyone knows, he had been doing extremely well for us, so to now face a long period out is a hard one for him to take.

Hearts midfielder Beni Baningime is out until next season. Picture: SNS

“He’s now got a bit of a journey to get back playing but we’re all absolutely behind him. Our medical team at the club is first class and he’ll get the best support from them, from his teammates and the coaching staff.

“We’re not going to put a timeframe on him returning because there is no pressure. We want him to come back in the best possible shape, as will the fans, and that will take as long as it takes.”

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The news could scarcely have come at a worst time for Hearts with a Scottish Cup semi-final against rivals Hibs on the horizon. Baningime’s usual midfield partner-in-crime Cammy Devlin is a doubt for that match with a hamstring issue.

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