Austin MacPhee gives update on Hearts duo Steven Naismith and Aaron Hickey - plus verdict on whether Marvin Bartley should have seen red

Steven Naismith was substituted before the half-hour mark against Livingston

Wednesday, 4th December 2019, 10:25 pm
Updated Thursday, 5th December 2019, 8:03 am
Steven Naismith went off injured after less than 30 minutes. Picture: SNS

After a decent start from Hearts at home to Livingston on Wednesday night the one thing Austin MacPhee and the fans didn’t want to see was Steven Naismith leave the field with an injury.

The 33-year-old was replaced by Steven MacLean before the half-hour mark.

He had earlier been on the receiving end of a robust aerial challenge from Livi’s Marvin Bartley, one which warranted a yellow card for the ex-Hibs midfielder.

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It was the latest in a long line of injury headaches the Hearts coaching staff have had to contend with in the last 13 months.

Teenage star Aaron Hickey had already picked up an injury in the warm-up, replaced by Jamie Brandon, while Oliver Bozanic missed the game through illness.

Interim boss MacPhee, who is set to be in the dugout for the match against Motherwell, revealed Naismith’s issue was with his hamstring.

“It is a wee bit unclear just now,” he said.

“He had a bang in the back but he’s got some pain in his hamstring and he’s obviously had a hamstring issue before when he was here, but sometimes those things can be neural instead of muscular.

“We’ll assess him in the next couple of days.”

He added: “Aaron has a problem with his groin so we’ll just need to asses him tomorrow (Thursday) but hopefully he’ll be okay for the weekend.”

When quizzed whether the challenge on Naismith from Bartley merited a red card, MacPhee felt referee Greg Aitken may have got it wrong.

“I’d need to see it again but my first reaction was yes (it was a red),” he said.

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