Robbie Neilson plans more minutes for returning duo as he offers update on Ukrainian trialist

Naismith and Haring picked up valuable game-time against Falkirk

By Mark Atkinson
Thursday, 24th September 2020, 7:30 am
Steven Naismith is stepping up his return to full fitness.
Steven Naismith is stepping up his return to full fitness.

Hearts manager Robbie Neilson will give more minutes to returning duo Steven Naismith and Peter Haring after both players came through a 3-0 friendly win against Falkirk unscathed.

The pair came on as substitutes in the victory over the Bairns at Oriam on Tuesday afternoon, with the goals coming from Liam Boyce, Jamie Walker and Craig Wighton, and they will be utilised again when Hearts take on Partick Thistle at Tynecastle in another warm-up match on Saturday.

Naismith came back late to pre-season training with a minor injury, while Haring had not played since the Scottish Cup final back in 2019 due to a persistent groin issue. Both are aiming to be match-fit by the time Hearts kick off their competitive campaign on October 6 against Inverness

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Neilson told the Evening News: “It was good to get a win, a few goals and improve fitness. Quite a few of them got 90 minutes. Steven Naismith got about half-an-hour and Peter Haring got 15 minutes, which was great.

"It was great to have the two of them back and they'll progress over the weekend, when we have a couple of games. They'll get a bit more game-time – Peter and Naisy will be involved against Partick.”

Hearts also have a match scheduled for Friday night against Edinburgh City, although it will predominantly be a second-string team that takes on the Citizens behind closed doors at Tynecastle. It will, however, give young Ukrainian trialist Maxym Kucheriavyi a chance to impress. Neilson is running the rule over the midfielder over the next couple of weeks, although he viewed as a reinforcement for the development squad.

"He's just a young kid, he's only 18,” Neilson said of Kucheriavyi, who was an unused substitute in last week's 5-0 defeat of East Fife. “He's over so we thought we'd have a wee look at him. He's done okay. He's a nice, tidy player. He's not a first-team player at the moment. We'll have him for another couple of weeks, take a look at him and see what we think.”