Hearts are praying six first-team players return unharmed from international duty as head coach Robbie Neilson monitors their progress. Callum Paterson, Jack Hamilton, John Souttar, Liam Smith, Arnaud Djoum and Faycal Rherras are all representing their countries and Neilson wants them back fully fit.
Hearts don’t play again until Monday, November 21, against Hamilton - a match rearranged at the request of both clubs because of the M74 road closure. As such, they have given some players time off this week but the sextet above are off on international business.
Paterson and Hamilton are in London with the Scotland squad for tomorrow’s World Cup qualifier against England. Souttar and Smith played for Scotland Under-21s in a friendly in Slovakia yesterday - Souttar captained the young Scots - whilst Djoum and Rherras are with Cameroon and Morocco respectively.
Neilson must wait to see if they return with any injuries. “A couple of players had a few days rest earlier in the week but they are all fine generally. We’re just hoping all the guys come back from international duty without any issues.
“We have six away altogether – two with Scotland Under-21s, two with the senior squad, plus Arnaud and Faycal,” he said.
“We do have competition for places in the squad, which is a good thing.
“The likes of Prince Buaben and Alim Ozturk are good players.
“They’ve worked hard and they’ve been very patient. Their time will come and they’ll get game time. We don’t have a huge squad but we’ve got good quality in the squad.”