Hearts: Bug denies Andy Driver East Fife runout

ANDY DRIVER was denied the opportunity to improve his fitness at the weekend as a stomach bug precluded the winger from Hearts' friendly victory over East Fife in Methil.

Hearts won 5-1 in a match which allowed several squad players the chance to play with the senior team dormant. Jason Thomson, Ryan McGowan, Paul Mulrooney and Jamie Mole all featured against the Second Division side, who are managed by Tynecastle legend John Robertson.

Driver, who returned from a long-term injury absence against St Johnstone at the end of last month, would also have played but took ill on Friday night and had to withdraw.

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David Templeton, Mole, Gary Glen and Danny Thomson – the younger brother of Jason – all got themselves on the scoresheet and an own goal completed Hearts' list of scorers in a worthwhile exercise for all concerned. First-team coach Gary Locke praised the attitude of his players. "It was a very pleasing display. The boys played well and we could have scored a few more," he said.

Driver was expected at Riccarton today for training as Hearts begin to prepare for Saturday's encounter with Hamilton Academical at New Douglas Park. "It was unfortunate for Andy but he'll be okay for training on Monday," added Locke.

Recent signing Andy Webster was not involved and his fitness will be monitored throughout this week to determine his readiness for a second Hearts debut at Hamilton.

Meanwhile, Hearts full-back Craig Thomson and goalkeeper Mark Ridgers have been named in the Scotland Under-21 squad for a three-day training camp.