Hearts boss Daniel Stendel handed huge boost as key trio return to first-team training

Steven Naismith, John Souttar and Jamie Walker have handed Daniel Stendel a timely boost

Tuesday, 14th January 2020, 3:12 pm
Updated Tuesday, 14th January 2020, 3:13 pm

Hearts have been given a huge boost ahead of the second half of the season with the return of three key players to first-team training.

Steven Naismith, John Souttar and Jamie Walker have been back working under Daniel Stendel and his No.2 Jorg Sievers. The German duo have been putting the squad through their paces in preparation of the Scottish Cup tie with Airdrieonians on Saturday.

It is followed by a match which could have a significant bearing on the league campaign as Hearts travel to Ross County a week on Wednesday.

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Naismith, who will likely take on the captain's armband with Christophe Berra no longer part of the first-team squad, has been beset by with hamstring and thigh problems. They have limited him to just nine appearances this campaign. He has played 45 minutes under Stendel.

Souttar hasn't played since the opening league game of the season. An ankle injury which required surgery has seen him miss 23 games. Walker start Stendel's first match but a knee injury ruled him out of action since the 1-0 defeat at home to St Johnstone.

All three were heavily involved in an energetic training session on Tuesday with Naismith's vocal qualities evident.

The training also saw the involvement of Callumn Morrison who has had his own injury issues to contend with and Lewis Moore who spent the first half of the season on loan at Falkirk.

Daniel Stendel has been boosted by key players returning from injury. Picture: SNS
John Souttar and Steven Naismith have been involved in first-team training ahead of the Scottish Cup clash with Airdrieonians. Picture: SNS