Robbie Neilson has revealed the decision on whether Osman Sow makes a farewell appearance for Hearts in tomorrow’s Scottish Cup derby rests with the player himself.
Sow returned to Edinburgh yesterday after agreeing his £1 million-plus transfer to Henan Jianye in the Chinese Super League.
But he is still eligible to play against Hibs at Tynecastle and Neilson did not rule out the possibility of the striker pulling on a maroon jersey one last time in such high-stakes circumstances. He even entertained the prospect of him scoring the winning goal for Hearts as a parting gift before heading to the Far East.
“It would be good if he did!” the Tynecastle coach said. “We’ll wait and see what he does. If he decides to play then great, if he doesn’t then we’ve got other guys that can come in.”
Alan Stubbs has placed to one side any scepticism regarding Sow’s involvement. He has prepared for Hearts playing with Sow and without.
“We’ve planned with him in the team and we’ve planned without him in the team,” the Hibs head coach said. “We’ll see what the team sheets are.”
Neilson had earlier explained that Sow could yet feature. “The deal is done and the agreement was that he comes back,” he said. “But it will all be down to Osman and what he wants to do. We’ll respect what he wants to do. When I spoke to him before he left he was desperate to play in the game, that might have changed.
“He’ll be back for a few days,” he added. “He’ll be back here, get the game, get his stuff and away he goes with our best wishes.
“It’s dependent on what Os wants to do. It’s a big contract he has out there and he has to be in the right frame of mind. If he wants to play, then he’ll play.”
Neilson admitted the lucrative nature of the deal struck with Henan Jianye was a pleasant surprise, given the player is out of contract in six months’ time. It appears he has few qualms about the possibility Sow might pick up an injury tomorrow that could jeopardise the move.
“If you’re going into a game thinking about that then something will happen. You’re as well just getting on with it,” added Neilson. “It’s a great deal for the club and it’s a great deal for Os as well.
“I’m pleased for him. He came here as a trialist and was one of the lowest paid players for us last year. He’s earned a big move.”
Neilson also revealed that all three new signings from earlier this week will likely feature against Hibs. Don Cowie, John Souttar and Abiola Dauda, Sow’s replacement, arrived on transfer deadline day.
“They’ll all be involved, whether starting or on the bench,” said Neilson.
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