Hearts fret over Jake Mulraney injury
Hearts manager Craig Levein is braced for the likelihood of adding Jake Mulraney to his lengthy list of key men sidelined by injury.
The winger sustained an ankle problem ten minutes from the end of the spirited 1-1 draw at home to Rangers and had to be replaced by Andy Irving.
Manager Levein admits early indications are that it doesn’t look good for the Irishman. “Jake’s going for an x-ray,” said Levein. “I don’t know if it’s serious yet but there’s a hell of a lot of swelling on his ankle already which would indicate there’s something, whether it’s ligaments or a crack on the bone. Your ankle doesn’t swell for no reason so there’s something going on there.”
Hearts also lost Aidan White early in the second half after the Irish left-back suffered a blow to the face late in the first half.
“Aidy got a bang on the face and was sick at half-time,” said Levein. “We weren’t sure if he was able to go back out but he said he wanted to try it, but then he got headaches so we took him off immediately. I don’t think he was concussed but we have to go through that procedure just to see if there is a concussion.”
Levein had gone into the match without Craig Halkett, Ben Garuccio, John Souttar, Jamie Walker, Loic Damour, Conor Washington, Steven Naismith and Peter Haring, who had hoped to return against Rangers following a five-month absence before feeling some discomfort on the eve of the game.
“Pete trained three times during the week and felt good and then he just felt a wee bit sore on Saturday,” said Levein. “The way things have been going, I thought if I press him into being involved, he could get worse. We’re right at that point where he’s nearly ready but I’m just very, very cautious about throwing him in when it could make things worse. We’ll wait and see how he settles this week.”
Hearts goal-scorer Ryotaro Meshino left the field with 15 minutes remaining, with Levein explaining that he felt the playmaker was showing signs of fatigue after his international exertions for Japan Under-22s against Brazil. “We’ve got Glenn Whelan who’s been away playing two important matches with the Republic of Ireland and who’s got 90 caps and he’s used to coming back from international duty and stepping into a big match,” Levein said. “But when you’re young like Ryo it’s hugely different, you’ve got the travelling, there’s the excitement, he’s playing against Brazil, and I felt he tired. But he did enough in the time he was on to contribute heavily, particularly with the goal because it wasn’t an easy finish.”