Robbie Neilson on a Hearts scouting mission as Peter Haring's return date is pencilled in

Hearts manager Robbie Neilson will attend Fir Park tonight on a scouting mission to watch Motherwell under interim manager Stuart Kettlewell. The Edinburgh club travel to North Lanarkshire on Sunday but first Neilson wants to see Kettlewell’s influence first-hand against St Mirren this evening.
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Motherwell sacked Steven Hammell on Saturday after a poor run of just three wins in 22 games. A 3-1 Scottish Cup fifth-round loss at Raith Rovers sealed his fate, with Kettlewell immediately installed as caretaker until further notice. The former Ross County manager takes charge for the first time tonight.

“I'm going along to watch and see what he does. As an interim manager, he might change a few things. He might change the shape or formation or something, so we will see what happens,” Neilson told the Evening News.

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Hearts enjoyed a 3-0 victory at Fir Park back in September, which was their first win away at Motherwell in more than three years. Neilson believes improvement in the pitch there helped his team fare better than they had done in the recent past.

“It's always difficult at Fir Park but over the last year or two it has been a wee bit better,” he explained. “The pitch has had a bit of work done on it so you can actually pass the ball. It's also flatter.

“We are looking forward to going there and we will have a decent support with us as well, which will be great. We have sold out our allocation [2,200] at the moment and there might be more away fans than that allowed in so we will wait and see.”

Neilson also reported positive progress on Peter Haring’s recovery from concussion-related issues. The Austrian midfielder has been absent since October 19 last year after suffering a head knock against Aberdeen at Pittodrie. His return to fitness has been stop-start but he recently started first-team training at Riccarton. Provided there are no more setbacks, he could return to action next month.

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“Peter is back in semi-training at the moment so we are hopeful he will be back after this wee break which follows the Motherwell game,” said Neilson. “It's a big boost that he is on the way back but it's still small steps for him at the moment. He is doing a bit of training with the first team so it will just be a case of trying to build that up.”