Stephen Kingsley injury latest as Robbie Neilson demands better from Hearts

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Hearts defender Stephen Kingsley is unlikely to make Tuesday’s Scottish Cup tie at Brora Rangers after injuring his groin.

He was forced off 14 minutes from the end of Saturday’s goalless draw at Arbroath and is expected to miss the trip north.

That leaves Hearts without both first-choice full-backs for a potentially-hazardous match away to the Highland League champions.

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Michael Smith is suspended and absent through international duty with Northern Ireland, as is Craig Gordon with Scotland. It remains to be seen if Liam Boyce joins the Northern Irish squad but Andy Halliday is also suspended against Brora.

Stephen Kingsley injured his groin in Hearts' draw at Arbroath.Stephen Kingsley injured his groin in Hearts' draw at Arbroath.
Stephen Kingsley injured his groin in Hearts' draw at Arbroath.

Neilson is preparing to reorganise his team. “Stephen hurt his groin and I don’t think he will make Tuesday. We will need to see how he is over the next couple of days and hopefully get him back as quick as we can,” the manager told the Evening News.

“Michael is already away so we will just have to shuffle the pack a wee bit for Tuesday. We will look at it and pick a team that we think will win the game.”

Referring to the weekend, Neilson insisted Hearts must improve by using the ball better. He wasn’t satisfied with the performance at Gayfield Park as part-time Arbroath fought courageously to unsettle their opponents.

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The result saw Hearts increase their advantage by a point at the top of the Championship, however Neilson is demanding more quality from his side.

“We’ve extended our lead to 16 points with six games to go but we aren’t happy with the performance,” he said. “It was windy in the first half and then it died down and the surface didn’t help, but we just have to do better.

“We need to show more composure on the ball. When it’s bobbly like that, teams are going direct and competing, you need to have the composure to pass the ball. I didn’t think we showed that on Saturday.

“There were a couple of clear-cut chances and they didn’t go in. We wanted to get three points but at least we have another point towards the league, which is always our objective.”

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