Double injury setback may prompt Hearts boss to be ‘aggressive’ with recruitment
Robbie Neilson admits injuries to Kye Rowles and Liam Boyce may force Hearts to be “more aggressive” in the transfer market before the window closes on Thursday.
The Tynecastle side picked themselves up from the disappointment of Thursday’s Europa League play-off defeat to FC Zurich as a much-changed side eked out a hard-fought 3-2 win at home to St Johnstone in the cinch Premiership on Sunday.
However, the win was soured as the Jambos – already without key men like Craig Halkett and Stephen Kingsley – lost Rowles and Boyce shortly after they had both scored in the first half. The two players were seen on crutches as they emerged from the tunnel to take their seats early in the second half.
“They’ll get scanned and then we’ll get feedback from it,” said manager Neilson. “I don’t know at the moment, it could be a day, it could be nine months.
“Liam felt pain in his knee but the good thing, although he’s got crutches, is that he’s up walking about. Fingers crossed it’s not as bad as we first thought.
“Kye’s got a wee problem with his metatarsal. He got stood on. He’ll get a scan.”
Hearts confirmed the signing of 24-year-old German midfielder Orestis Kiomourtzoglou on a four-year deal shortly before kick-off. Asked if the injuries will cause him to alter his recruitment plans, Neilson said: “We know we need to get a couple in.
“We got Kio in just there but maybe we need another one or two.
“Today might mean we are a bit more aggressive but there’s no point worrying about it just now.”
Neilson, who made six changes from Thursday’s game, was pleased that his squad showed they could handle the demands of two games in such a short space of time.
“One of the questions we will have asked of us this season is ‘can we do it on a Thursday night then come back and do it on a Sunday?’ We need to answer that. We have done today.”
Saints boss Callum Davidson was disappointed by the way his side allowed Hearts to score the winner with 10 minutes remaining.
“It was our free-kick, we go long, nobody rings the box and we get done on a counter,” he said.
“It’s basic football. I’m furious. My team gave me so much but when you make basic, basic mistakes, don’t organise and don’t do the right things, it’s unacceptable.
“If we’d been beaten by a goal into the top corner, fair enough, but that wasn’t the case.”
Davidson had no complaints about the penalty award after Liam Gordon fouled Barrie McKay, paving the way for Lawrence Shankland to score the winner from the spot.
“It was a penalty all day long,” he admitted. “Gordy has to stay on his feet.
“But we’ve got to organise better. At the moment I’m a bit raw – emotions are a bit tender.
“There have been three games when we should have taken something – Hibs, Aberdeen and this one.
“That’s what is annoying me most at the moment.”
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