Callum Paterson and Perry Kitchen will be banned for Hearts’ trip to Celtic next month if they are yellow-carded against Partick Thistle this weekend.
Both players have amassed five league cautions and will therefore walk a suspension tightrope at Tynecastle on Saturday. A sixth booking automatically triggers a one-match ban under Scottish Football Association disciplinary rules.
The ban would take effect 14 days after the sixth caution which, for Paterson and Kitchen, would be Saturday, December 31.
Since Hearts have no game that day and the Premiership enters its four-week winter break, their next league fixture is the visit to Celtic Park on Sunday, January 29 (kick-off 1.00pm) – a match switched today for live TV coverage.
The prospect of heading to Glasgow to face the reigning champions without the club captain and top goalscorer is one new head coach Ian Cathro will be desperate to avoid.
Hearts are due to play Raith Rovers in the Scottish Cup fourth round on Sunday, January 22 – the week before the Celtic match.
However, both Paterson and Kitchen would be available for that tie as any suspension would only apply to league games. The full-back and his midfield colleague are key figures in the Tynecastle team and are both certain to be in the starting line-up this weekend despite the threat of suspension hanging over them.