Peter Haring is ready to return for Hearts’ Betfred Cup semi-final against Celtic, manager Craig Levein has confirmed.
The influential Austrian is nursing a hernia complaint having missed recent victories over Aberdeen and Dundee but should be available for Sunday’s tie at BT Murrayfield.
A summer signing from SV Ried, Haring quickly established himself as a key figure in the Hearts midfield with five goals in 14 games prior to the recent international break. Levein hopes the player can delay hernia surgery until January but, with rest, he is confident Haring can feature in the semi-final.
“He is looking okay for Sunday,” Levein told the Evening News. “It would be a big boost to get him back but Harry Cochrane came in on Tuesday at Dundee, Olly Lee has been great, Oliver Bozanic did well in the last couple of games and Arnaud Djoum is getting back to his best. It gives me good selection problems.”
One area requiring little thought is attack, where Steven Naismith and Steven MacLean are expected to start. Both scored in Tuesday’s 3-0 win at Dundee to take Hearts six points clear at the top of the Ladbrokes Premiership and Levein cited them as vital influences on his team.
“Naismith and MacLean both bring the same thing to the group – that is calmness,” said Levein. “They make good decisions and they’re great examples to the other players. When you see Naisy busting a gut, it’s very difficult for another player in the team to say: ‘I can’t be bothered running tonight’.
“He’s done a lot in the game and still puts his foot to the floor in every single match. That helps me to get the other players aligned with him, Steven MacLean, plus the likes of Christophe Berra and Aaron Hughes when they’re available. The experienced players have been vital for us and Naisy has probably been the most influential.”