Could Ryan Edwards start for Hearts against Kilmarnock this weekend?

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Ryan Edwards ticked off one milestone last weekend at Easter Road - and on Saturday he may well have another to celebrate.

Signed on a free transfer from Partick Thistle last summer, Edwards promptly fell down the pecking order in Hearts’ midfield.

Ryan Edwards has forced his way into Craig Levein's plans in recent weeks. Picture: SNS Group

Ryan Edwards has forced his way into Craig Levein's plans in recent weeks. Picture: SNS Group

With the advice that regular game-time would be limited, he went on loan to St Mirren, before returning in January.

Bar a handful of second-string games, including the Reserve Cup final victory over Motherwell, the Australian was kept in cold storage.

Then, almost out of the blue, Edwards finally made his Hearts debut, coming on as 65th-minute substitute and helping the Jambos earn a point away at their nearest rivals Hibs.

It was Edwards’ first senior match since December 22, when he played for the Buddies against Motherwell.

The 25-year-old acquitted himself well in the Hearts midfield during his 25-minute derby cameo. He was energetic, used the ball intelligently and clearly intent on making his presence felt.

In an interview with the Evening News earlier this week, he spoke of his desire to resurrect his Hearts career. He has another year of his contract to run and clearly sees his future in Gorgie.

Edwards could be in line for a promotion to the starting XI against Kilmarnock. He is helped by Peter Haring’s injury - the Austrian has failed to recover from a groin issue and will miss this match - and the declining form of other midfielders, such as Olly Lee and Oliver Bozanic. Teenager Harry Cochrane played well against Hibs, but is often reserved for matches against bigger teams.

Kilmarnock are fourth, right enough, but Gary Dicker and Alan Power are combative. Edwards may be deemed as the most suitable of Hearts’ options to start alongside Arnaud Djoum in the engine room.

If he does, it will be Edwards’ first start and first competitive appearance at Tynecastle, 11 months after he joined the club. The irony is that it’s Hearts’ last home match of the campaign.

He has had to wait a long time for his home debut, but this weekend it is likely to come.

Don’t be surprised if he makes an impact and gives manager Craig Levein some food for thought in terms of his Scottish Cup final team.