Hearts captain Christophe Berra is set to play his first game in almost four months tonight in a friendly at Linlithgow Rose.
Manager Craig Levein will then decide whether the defender is ready to return to the first team for Sunday’s Premiership match with Rangers.
Berra, 33, tore his hamstring off the bone against Celtic in August and was predicted to miss six months of football. He has recovered remarkably three months early and resumed full training last week at Riccarton.
Tonight sees Berra lead a Hearts XI out at Prestonfield to formally mark the opening of Linlithgow’s new floodlights. The player is eager to return to competitive action against Rangers but must first pass this evening’s test.
Levein is determined not to risk Berra in case of any setback. He will only make a decision on whether to include the Scotland internationalist against Rangers nearer the weekend.
“The plan is for Christophe to play 45 minutes tonight and we will see how he gets on,” Levein told the Evening News. “Everything has gone well during his rehab so far, he hasn’t suffered any reaction, although he hasn’t been back in full training very long.
“He is an experienced player and he feels he has done a lot of work with the physios, so he feels ready for 45 minutes. I’m hoping it all goes well. After that I’ll make the decision for Sunday.”
Kick off at Prestonfield is 7.30pm and entry is £5.