Hearts’ medical staff are working to ensure Peter Haring will be fit for the Scottish Cup final after manager Craig Levein conceded that the key midfielder isn’t certain to make the Hampden showdown with Celtic.
The Austrian has been plagued by a groin problem recently and was unable to train last week or play in the 3-1 home defeat by Rangers on Saturday.
Hearts’ medics are weighing up how best to deal with the injury, with an injection being considered as a possible solution. It remains to be seen if Haring will be available to play any part in the team’s remaining four league games or next month’s Scottish Cup final.
“I don’t know,” said Levein when asked if the influential midfielder would be ready for the Hampden showpiece four weeks on Saturday. “I’m hopeful because he helps us, for sure, but at this minute in time I can’t answer that. It’s starting to settle a little bit but it’s still sore. The doc and the physios have got a fair idea of what the problem is but he might need an injection. Obviously he’s an important player for us.
“We’ll just need to deal with it week to week at the moment. If he does get an injection, we’ll be hoping it alleviates some of the pain. From that point of view, I’d hope that would make a difference. There’s a chance he could play in the next few weeks, I’m not writing him off at all. If we decide the injection is the right course of action to take, I’m sure it will help. I’m hopeful that he’ll be ok but I can’t say for certain.”
Levein is eager to see Haring return to the side at the earliest opportunity after Hearts struggled in his absence against Rangers on Saturday.
“He’s a miss in the team because he’s intelligent and he understands what we’re trying to do,” said the manager. “He’s not the quickest but he’s a strong runner and physically he helps in that midfield area because he doesn’t often get bounced around or bullied. It would be good to have him available.”
One of the few positives for Hearts supporters from Saturday’s match was the sight of teenager Harry Cochrane making his first appearance for four months as a second-half substitute. The midfielder, who turns 18 this week, has made only three starts in an injury-disrupted campaign and has been unable to build on the promise he showed when making 16 starts last season. Levein is hoping the highly-regarded youngster is able to enjoy an injury-free run between now and the end of the campaign.
“Harry’s had a really, really difficult season,” said Levein. “He’s had five different injuries and he’s taken a while to get himself back into a place where I feel he can play. I’ve got to be careful with him. He’s not the most robust of players. He’s a tough wee bugger but he’s not somebody who’s physically capable of defending himself. With his injuries and his body weight not quite being up where it should be, I’ve kind of been looking after him a bit. He did quite well when he came on. I’ve got enough faith in Harry to know that if I put him in in the final, he would deal with it no bother.”
Hearts Reserves, meanwhile, face St Mirren at Oriam at 2pm today.