Hearts set new return date for John Souttar and Cammy Devlin as three injured players push to return this weekend

Hearts players John Souttar and Cammy Devlin are not expected to return from injury until nearly mid-April.

Wednesday, 16th March 2022, 7:00 am

The Edinburgh club hope to have both men back in time for the Edinburgh derby double header against Hibs, which begins on April 9. That has been pencilled in as the day defender Souttar and midfielder Devlin should be available again.

An ankle injury and a hamstring problem respectively precluded them from Saturday’s Scottish Cup quarter-final win against St Mirren. Hearts medical staff won’t rush them back as next month’s Hibs matches in both the league and cup are potentially the biggest of the season.

Manager Robbie Neilson reported more positive news on other injured players. Winger Gary Mackay-Steven is recovering well after surgery on a broken hand and might be fit in time to face Livingston this weekend.

Hearts are waiting on Cammy Devlin and John Souttar to return.

Josh Ginnelly should be back from illness to prove another option out wide and full-back Alex Cochrane is set to return after concussion.

“We’re hoping to have three back for the weekend,” Neilson confirmed to the Evening News. “We’ve had a few bumps and bruises so it hasn’t been a huge squad at training but some of them should be back for Saturday.

“Gary will hopefully be okay for this week, Ginnelly will be back and Cochrane should be available as well. That should give us a few more options than we had against St Mirren last Saturday.”

Asked about Souttar and Devlin, Neilson hinted that patience will be key with both. “It will be another couple of weeks before they are back. We are probably targeting the Hibs games but we will wait and see,” he added.

All of the above sustained injuries during the 2-2 draw between Dundee United and Hearts at Tannadice on March 5, testing the depth of Neilson’s squad to its limits.

As a result, only seven substitutes were named on the Tynecastle substitutes’ bench against St Mirren instead of the permitted nine. Three of those were under-18 players – Mackenzie Kirk, Luke Rathie and Macaulay Tait.

Hearts' other outstanding injury concern is defender Michael Smith’s ongoing back issue. He was told by a specialist to rest until later next month.

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