Hearts keeper MacDonald to return for County crunch

Jamie MacDonald sat out of the midweek friendly against Wolfsburg. Pic: SNS
Jamie MacDonald sat out of the midweek friendly against Wolfsburg. Pic: SNS
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JAMIE MacDONALD will return in goal for Hearts against Ross County next weekend after being left out of the midweek friendly with Wolfsburg as a precaution.

Manager Gary Locke explained today that MacDonald has a slight hamstring strain but that the injury is not serious and will not keep him out of action.

Second-choice goalkeeper Mark Ridgers enjoyed a clean sheet in MacDonald’s absence as Hearts drew 0-0 with the Germans in a fund-raising friendly on Wednesday night. MacDonald had started every match for his club so far this season but was not risked for fear of aggravating his hamstring.

Locke revealed today that Ridgers would have played in any case as reward for his patience this season as MacDonald’s deputy.

MacDonald is due to return to Hearts’ starting line-up in a vital Scottish Premiership meeting with County at Tynecastle next Saturday.

“Even if Jamie had been fit, Mark would’ve played against Wolfsburg anyway,” Locke told the Evening News.

“He deserves to play and get a chance in goal and I thought he came in and did really well.

“Jamie is okay, I just didn’t want to take any chances.

“It was a friendly, we had a few players away, Jason Holt just got injured and, with Jamie having a hamstring strain, I certainly wasn’t going to take any risks.”

Adam King and Angus Beith were granted first-team debuts in the game along with Hearts’ third-choice goalkeeper, 19-year-old Jack Hamilton.

“I was pleased with all three of them and playing against opposition like that can only benefit them in the long run. It was a good experience and definitely a worthwhile exercise,” said Locke.