Craig Halkett a doubt for Fiorentina games as Hearts provide injury update

Craig Halkett could miss both European matches with Fiorentina, Hearts manager Robbie Neilson has revealed.

The centre-back has been absent since being replaced 22 minutes into the previous Conference League encounter against RFS in Latvia.

Halkett has had an injury disrupted season with a hamstring issue having also been substituted early in the defeat to Zurich in St Gallen, limiting him to five appearances.

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The 27-year-old will, along with Kye Rowles and Robert Snodgrass, be unavailable for the Tynecastle Park encounter.

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When asked if Halkett would be available for the game in Florence, Neilson said: “It will be touch and go, I would be surprised if he did.”

Hearts come into the game off the back of a second consecutive 4-0 home loss after Saturday’s defeat to Rangers which followed the reverse to İstanbul Başakşehir in the group opener.

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“You have to keep your full team on the pitch, we didn’t do that and the game ran away from us," Neilson said. “That’s done and dusted and we have an opportunity to put it right on Thursday night.

"We have been a wee bit up and down this season. In periods of games, we have played very well. Other periods, we haven't.

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Craig Halkett is set to miss the Fiorentina games. (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)

"On Thursday, we need to be at our very best for the full 90 minutes to get something out of the game.”

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With two games played in the Conference League so far, Hearts sit above Fiorentina in the group thanks to a 2-0 win over RFS last month.

It was the club's first win in a group stage since 2004 when they famously beat Basel. Since then, wins have only arrived in qualifying.

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Neilson believes it could act as a strong message to his players that they belong at this level of European football and can compete.

"I think it was hugely important," he said. It's been a long time since we won a European game, especially away from home.

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"To pick up three points in the section was massive. It gives us a real lift going into this game. We believe we can compete at this level.”

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