Hearts reveal why Jamie Walker missed their opening Premiership win against Celtic
Jamie Walker’s absence from Hearts’ opening Premiership win over Celtic has been explained by manager Robbie Neilson.
The winger was unfit to play due to an ankle injury sustained against Inverness Caledonian Thistle the previous weekend. He is due to train at Riccarton this week in the hope of returning to the squad for this weekend’s visit to St Mirren.
A late tackle by the Inverness midfielder Michael Gardyne left Walker with a swollen ankle. Gardyne received a red card from referee Nick Walsh for the challenge, but it also precluded Walker from Saturday’s fixture.
He watched from the main stand at Tynecastle Park as Hearts recorded a memorable 2-1 victory against Celtic thanks to goals from Gary Mackay-Steven and John Souttar.
Neilson told the Evening News that Walker will be given every chance to prove his fitness ahead of the trip to St Mirren this Saturday.
“Hopefully he will be okay. He got a bad knock against Inverness in a tackle in our previous game,” said the manager. “When he was tackled he rolled his ankle. There was a bit of swelling and it didn’t go down.
“He trained on Thursday and wasn’t right but we are hopeful he will be back for next week. It will probably be the middle of the week before he is ready to train.”
Neilson added that he was delighted to start the 2021/22 campaign with three points as newly-promoted Hearts aim for a top-six finish in this season’s Premiership.
“It’s very important in any league to get a win on the board early. I was delighted with the result against Celtic. They have top players and you only need to look at their bench to see that.
“They had Tom Rogic, Albian Ajeti, Ryan Christie – top players who can come on and change the game. Odsonne Edouard is on from the start so you need to be on top of your game against them.”
Hearts have no other major injury concerns ahead of this week’s match. New signing Beni Baningime managed to complete 90 minutes on his debut – his first full outing since March.