Ian Cathro is ready to welcome Arnaud Djoum back into his line-up for Hearts’s derby clash with Hibs on Sunday.
The midfielder was given extra time off to celebrate his part in Cameroon’s victorious Africa Cup of Nations campaign.
The 27-year-old helped the Indomitable Lions win their fifth continental crown with a 2-1 victory over Egypt last Sunday.
They returned from the tournament in Gabon to be greeted by hundreds of supporters in the capital Yaounde, with the squad treated to a series of official receptions to mark their first tournament victory in 15 years.
Cathro said: “Arnaud has rejoined us. He had one last celebration to do but it was great to see him again, give him a big hug and say ‘well done’.
“It was a tremendous achievement and testament to his character, especially the way the competition went. He wasn’t in the team to begin with but has obviously shown his qualities.
“He got his chance, went into the team and played a vital role in the final.
“He has played in the final of the Africa Cup of Nations and helped win it for his country. What an achievement.”
Cathro is looking forward to deploying the former Roda playmaker in his new-look line-up and hopes that Djoum’s achievements can help convince other players to make a switch to Tynecastle.
“We want good players here,” he said. “We want to improve the level of everything and do it constantly.
“The more we can do that, the more guys like (Arnaud) we can persuade to come here.”
Cathro endured a difficult start to his Hearts reign as the rookie boss collected just two wins from his first eight games in charge.
But after blasting away Rangers and Motherwell in successive games, Hearts now face Neil Lennon’s Easter Road side this weekend with confidence soaring.
“Those wins were important because it became an on-going frustration that we weren’t able to give people enough reasons to believe in what we were doing,” said the head coach.
“We’re thankful that the fans stayed with us and that their support was there, which we saw in the opening moments of the Rangers game.
“We were always in a strong position in that we knew where we were going. The work we were doing was always going to reach a point where it brought rewards.
“Of course we needed that to happen and we now have those rewards, so it feels good.
“All that does it serve as additional motivation to continue doing what we were doing.”