Robbie Neilson explains why youngsters won't feature in Hearts final league match against Rangers

Robbie Neilson has revealed there won’t be any more run-outs for Hearts youth academy graduates in the final game of the league campaign against Rangers.

By Craig Fowler
Saturday, 14th May 2022, 7:00 am
Updated Saturday, 14th May 2022, 10:26 am

The Tynecastle head coach explained that, with just about everyone available from his first-team squad, the priority will be on getting those players right for the Scottish Cup final against the Ibrox side the following week.

Mackenzie Kirk made his debut in the 1-1 draw with Ross County in early April, while Murray Thomas came off the bench in both of Hearts’ last two matches, a 4-1 loss to Celtic and 2-1 defeat at Motherwell.

It’s typical in football for young players to be given a chance at the end of a campaign if their club have nothing to play for in terms of league positions. Hearts have had third place wrapped up since the 3-1 win over Hibs in the final game before the split.

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Murray Thomas featured off the bench for Hearts in each of the last two games. Picture: SNS

However, with fitness and momentum at the forefront of the manager’s mind, opportunities will be limited when the Europa League finalists travel to Edinburgh.

“No, because we’ve got our full group back now,” explained Neilson when asked by the press about any more possible appearances for his teenage apprentices. “The young boys have been really good since they came in but they were brought in to fill us a wee bit in the squad. They’re probably not ready yet for that environment. It was great in terms of development for them.

“The younger ones that were ready for it were sent out on loan and we couldn’t bring them back in again. So, now we’ve got the full group we’ll keep the group together.”

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