Heart injury update: Liam Boyce, Peter Haring and Ellis Simms take a beating – Robbie Neilson assesses Rangers’ last chances

Liam Boyce caused concern after walking off with a groin problem after just 12 minutes and now faces a race against time to be fit and available for Saturday.

Also, midfield player Peter Haring, who was due to play his last game at Tynecastle unless a new contract can be agreed, limped away and had his knee iced over, while striker Ellis Simms was also sent off after a tie.

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“It was just a tight groin [for Boyce]’ Neilson said. “He thinks it’s just a narrow one. That’s all. As soon as there was any problem, we just dropped him off. There’s no point in taking risks.

Hearts’ Liam Boyce walks off injured during the Cinch Premiership game against Rangers.

“Ellis was [feeling it] a bit, Peter Haring was a bit after receiving small beatings.

“Hopefully both of them [Simms and Haring] will be fine. Liam will just depend on the next day or two and if it’s just a tight spot.”

Losing any of those three would be a blow to the capital side, who used the final league game of the season to give defenders John Souttar and Craig Halkett their first run-outs since March and April respectively.

Others struggling with injuries including Andy Halliday, Michael Smith, Cammy Devlin and Toby Sibbick also received playing time and came through unscathed, according to Neilson. But he was particularly relieved to see two of his best centre-backs fit back into the squad for the following weekend.

“It was great to put them back on,” Neilson added. “You can see that rust over there. But having them there was brilliant and you can see how high the level gets when they show up. It’s all about that fitness now, can we get them there for the finals?

When asked if these were realistic options for the starting XI against Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s men next weekend, he said: “Yes, 100 per cent. We have a hopping game here on Tuesday. They’ll get some playing time and then we’ll make a decision after that.

With so many changes in the Hearts team over the 90 minutes and with Rangers pretty much setting a second string while focusing on Seville and the Europa League final, Neilson doesn’t think it offers any real indicator of how things will develop from when the Scottish Cup is up for grabs.

“I don’t think it matters too much,” he continued. “They made 10 changes and we made six. It’s about coming back on Monday and committing to it so we’re ready for Saturday.

“There were phases in the game when we weren’t aggressive enough. We didn’t turn on the press and let them play through. Maybe that’s because we made a bunch of changes – we brought in people who had never played together – so sometimes you get that.

“There’s a disappointment with the performance, but we also expected it a bit as some of them are coming back into the game.”

https://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/hearts-injury-update-liam-boyce-peter-haring-and-ellis-simms-pick-up-knocks-robbie-neilson-assesses-rangers-final-chances-3694302 Heart injury update: Liam Boyce, Peter Haring and Ellis Simms take a beating – Robbie Neilson assesses Rangers’ last chances

Matthew Hallett

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