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Robbie Neilson plans to finalise Hearts cup final XI after Tuesday’s bounce game

Heart of Midlothian v Rangers – cinch Premiership – Tynecastle Park
(Image credit: Andrew Milligan)

Hearts manager Robbie Neilson plans to finalise his Scottish Cup final starting XI after a bounce game on Tuesday.

The Tynecastle boss has had to contend with several injury concerns surrounding key players over the past month but he expects to have everyone available for Saturday’s Hampden showdown apart from Beni Baningime.

Liam Boyce’s groin strain appears to have subsided, while Craig Halkett, Cammy Devlin, John Souttar and Michael Smith will be among those given another chance to prove their fitness in a training match.

Neilson said: “I’ve got a rough idea what my team will be. We’ve got a bounce game tomorrow so we’ll see how we get through that and make a decision on the final few bits and bobs and work with the players on what we want to do.

“You obviously want your full squad to be fully fit and having played five or 10 games to be ready for it. We don’t have that. It’s a case of deciding who is in form, who’s coming back and is fit enough to play, whether they start or come on, so there are a lot of different aspects to look at.

“Boycey should be fine. He won’t be involved in the bounce match but he’ll be involved Thursday, Friday and then we’ll make a decision.”

Rangers face Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League final on Wednesday before returning to play Hearts at Hampden. Neilson believes it is pointless trying to predict what impact the Ibrox side’s exertions in Seville might have on their readiness for Saturday.

“I have no idea what will happen with Rangers,” he said. “If they win it, they could be high or low on Saturday. If they lose on Wednesday, it could be vice versa on Saturday. We’ll just need to wait and see. Our focus is on us. We’ll get there at 3pm on Saturday and see what turns up.”

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