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Uche Ikpeazu set for swift Hearts comeback after head injury

Hearts have received a pre-derby boost after Uche Ikpeazu made a good start to his recovery from being knocked out against Aberdeen.

The striker – who had earlier netted the winner – suffered a heavy blow to the head as he landed on the turf and will miss Wednesday’s trip to Ibrox to face Rangers.

But the signs are that he will be back for Saturday’s visit of Hibernian which comes the day after the six-day minimum lay-off for concussion.

Manager Craig Levein said: “He’s good. He won’t make the Rangers game but I’m pretty confident he will be OK for Saturday.

“The guidelines are pretty strict. He was fine Sunday morning when I spoke to him and he’s passed all the tests so far and he feels good.

“We are applying the strict guidelines and provided everything goes well for the rest of the week, and I don’t see why it wouldn’t, then he should be available for the Hibs match.”

With Steven Naismith also out after knee surgery, Hearts will be without their preferred strike pair at Ibrox.

The hosts will be missing their top goalscorer after Alfredo Morelos was sent off against Celtic on Sunday, but they have Jermain Defoe and former Hearts striker Kyle Lafferty competing to step in.

And Levein would not say Rangers will be weakened by the absence of their talisman.

“I would never say that about any team, particularly with the budget Rangers have got,” Levein said.

“They’ll have other players who are capable of stepping in.”