Hearts take a final decision on Craig Halkett and Liam Boyce

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The injured pair are running out of time to play again this season

Craig Halkett and Liam Boyce won’t play again for Hearts this season after head coach Steven Naismith decided both players should wait until the new campaign. They are back in full training after respective knee and hamstring operations but time is against them for a first-team return.

Halkett has been absent from the centre of Hearts’ defence since being forced off at Airdrie in the first half of February’s Scottish Cup tie. Boyce’s last appearance in attack was back on 2 December at Kilmarnock. They are close to being ready for competitive action but the Premiership season is likely to finish before they are fully fit to play.

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“Boyce and Halkett are fully back in training but I don’t think they will be considered this season,” Naismith explained to the Edinburgh News. “There won’t be enough time. We have two and a bit weeks left and they have only trained fully for a week. They have been out for a long period of time, so by the time they get to the stage where you would normally consider them for a game it’s going to be the end of the season.

“That’s the reasoning behind it. There just isn’t enough time for them. We would very rarely risk somebody who is feeling a niggle. With any long-term injuries, there is a programme for them to follow to come back. If this was September, they still wouldn’t be considered for the next two weeks or so anyway.”

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