Kevin McHattie to miss Ibrox clash

Kevin McHattie, right, played at Ibrox on the first day of the season
Kevin McHattie, right, played at Ibrox on the first day of the season
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Kevin McHattie’s Hearts comeback will take a little longer than anticipated, with head coach Robbie Neilson revealing today that it will be “another week or two” before the defender resumes full training.

Neilson had hoped McHattie would be able to train next week after seven weeks out with a torn medial ligament, however his rehabilitation will now extend until after next week’s match against Rangers.

Hearts were keen to have the left-back available for that match but he will be given more time to ease himself gently back into action. Strikers Osman Sow and Dale Carrick should be involved against Rangers as they are due to begin full training tomorrow.

Ahead of today’s league visit to Dumbarton, Neilson delivered the latest update on his club’s injury situation. “We’re much the same as last week since we don’t have any injuries from the Hibs game,” he told the Evening News. “Carrick and Sow are missing but they will train on Sunday with us with a view to being involved against Rangers next week.

“Kevin won’t be ready to train. He might be another week or two yet. Soufian El Hassnaoui is similar so he will likely be the following week after the Rangers game as well.”

Neilson is preparing to tinker with his side again for the match against Dumbarton. “We’ll change a couple of things again to try and get the most out of the team. I’ve watched Dumbarton’s game from the weekend and I’ve watched our game against them down there again. There are a few things we will alter. It’s another huge game for us and we want to go there and get three points.”

The head coach believes teams in the Scottish Championship are now better informed about Hearts’ strengths than they were earlier in the season. “I think everyone has learned a lot about each other. You play each other so many times here,” continued Neilson. “I’ve got guys out at games all the time and I watch videos of other teams so we know everything about all the other sides. That’s why I’ve been changing shape, to try and give us a wee bit of an edge.

“It’s not like down in England, where you only play teams twice. You get them in September then the next time you see them again it’s March. Here you can face the same team twice in the space of four or five weeks. Everyone knows everything about each other so it can be difficult to come up with something new.”