Dundee United’s Gary Mackay-Steven will today undergo surgery which will sideline him for up to six weeks.
The 21-year-old winger had been playing through the pain barrier for Peter Houston’s men in recent weeks with a long-running knee injury which now requires some early-season surgery.
Mackay-Steven soldiered on in the weekend’s 3-1 defeat down at Kilmarnock but is now preparing to have the tidy-up operation in a bid to regain full fitness again and reach the impressive heights he hit in his debut top-flight season.
United manager Houston said: “Gary is going in on Tuesday so will be out for between four to six weeks. I think mentally it will be the best thing for him. He isn’t getting the full range of movement in his leg so he’ll go in and get the tidy-up done. That will be him out for quite a wee while.
“But we just need to deal with these things and deal with the positives rather than looking at the negatives.
“It’s an opportunity for someone else to now come in and stake a claim so that’s football.”
Houston sat his players through a video repeat of their Rugby Park loss at the weekend as they bid to get back to winning ways in this weekends’ Tayside derby away to St Johnstone.
The Tangerines had been on fire prior to their Kilmarnock collapse which saw them win their opening two SPL matches to occupy top spot in the table with many tipping them to be challenging for the runners-up port come the end of the campaign.
Houston is convinced he won’t have to sit his players down to show them their mistakes too many times this season such is their ability to bounce back from disappointment.
“Hopefully we’ll learn from where we went wrong against Kilmarnock. The players know they made mistakes. We pride ourselves on the way we keep possession but having sat and watched it again you could be there all day and night,” he said.
“The fact is we gave the ball away cheaply and were poor all over the pitch.”