Hearts boss Craig Levein provides squad fitness update ahead of semi-final

Hearts head to Hampden on Saturday to meet Inverness Caledonian Thistle
Hearts head to Hampden on Saturday to meet Inverness Caledonian Thistle
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Craig Levein is set to have an array of options at his disposal for Saturday’s Scottish Cup semi-final against Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

The Hearts manager is hopeful of having a full squad available for the Hampden showdown, with the exception of long-term injury victims Steven Naismith and Ben Garuccio. Such a scenario would be a welcome boost to Levein in light of the magnitude of the match and the problems he has had to deal with in terms of regularly losing key players over the course of the season.

“I’m hopeful that we won’t have too many problems injury-wise going into the game,” he told the Evening News. “If we’ve got nearly everybody fit and healthy, then I think we’ve got a decent chance. Steven and Ben are out but other than that everyone should be available.”

It remains to be seen if Bobby Burns will continue at left-back on Saturday after the Northern Irish teenager made a surprise first start for the club in last weekend’s 2-1 defeat by Hibs. With Demetri Mitchell having returned to Manchester United and Garuccio sidelined until next season, Hearts currently have no senior specialist left-back to call on. Jamie Brandon, Marcus Godinho, Michael Smith and Jake Mulraney are the other contenders to play left-back or left-wing-back, depending on formation. “I thought Bobby did well on Saturday,” said Levein. “It was obviously a massive game for him but he gave me enough confidence that I can use him again, for sure.”