Hearts in fresh injury sweat as Lewis Neilson limps out of Scotland international

Hearts are facing a potential centre-back injury crisis after Lewis Neilson became the latest Tynecastle defender to limp out of action.

The 19-year-old was forced off in the first half of Scotland under-21s’ 3-1 victory over Northern Ireland on Thursday afternoon. The nature and extent of the injury is not yet known.

The summer signing from Dundee United has impressed in reserve for Robbie Neilson’s side so far this campaign. He most recently started the 3-0 win over Motherwell at Fir Park after coming on for Craig Halkett in the Europa Conference League encounter with RFS three days prior.

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Halkett has missed most of the season with a hamstring injury, a problem which once again flared up in the opening period of the match in Riga, while Hearts were already without the services of Kye Rowles. The Australian defender broke his metatarsal in the 3-2 victory over St Johnstone.

Lewis Neilson has impressed for Hearts since joining from Dundee United in the summer. Picture: SNS

Stephen Kingsley and Alex Cochrane, two players who can fill in at centre-back, both picks up knocks in the victory at Fir Park. Neilson, however, revealed each suffered contact injuries and shouldn’t face any length of time out, while there’s hope Halkett could be fit to return in time for the visit of Rangers to Gorgie a week on Saturday.

Despite losing Neilson, Scot Gemmill’s under-21s side recorded a 3-1 victory over their hosts with promising Liverpool youngster Ben Doak scoring on his debut. Fulham striker Kieron Bowie, formerly of Raith Rovers, and Dundee midfielder Josh Mulligan were also on target for the young Scots.

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