Don Cowie is an injury doubt for Hearts ahead of tomorrow’s Premiership match with Inverness.
The midfielder is nursing sore ribs after a bruising challenge from Hibs’ Darren McGregor at Tynecastle on Sunday.
Hearts coaching staff are hopeful he declares himself fit but will not risk him if he is not 100 per cent. McGregor was booked for the thumping tackle after 28 minutes of the Scottish Cup tie and Cowie has spent much of this week recovering.
“He’s certainly sore after the challenge, which could’ve been a dangerous one,” said the Hearts head coach Ian Cathro. “He’s been a little bit lucky that nothing major has gone on.
“It was just a strong collision which knocked the air straight out of him, so there’s a bit of pain there. We hope it settles down so that he’s available for tomorrow.”
Cathro admitted being unhappy with the level of Hearts’ performance against Hibs and is eager to see an improvement against the league’s bottom club.
“We want to play better football than we did on Sunday. There were a lot of reasons why we weren’t able to do that. The derby nature, the conditions, the way the game started – these were all factors. We certainly want to play better. I would still say it was a mature performance from our team. We stayed disciplined and defended well and dealt with the game.”
Midfielder Prince Buaben has returned to training after three weeks out with a groin problem. Tomorrow will come too soon for him but he could force his way into contention before the end of the month.
“He’s getting there. It’s still a situation we are managing with him,” said Cathro. “He’s started joining in with us in training again so we think we’ve got to the bottom of it all. He’s now made a recovery and can increase his training.
“He should be over it but I think Saturday might be a bit early. He’s missed a lot of training so we need to give him time to build back up. It’s good to have him training again. He needs to do some work now to get himself up to a level where he can be competing for a place.”