Hearts' fears over key man availability against Celtic allayed

Hearts boss Robbie Neilson expects to have Beni Baningime available for Thursday’s trip to Celtic Park after initial fears over a late knee injury in the 2-0 victory over St Mirren appear to have been allayed.

Hearts' Beni Baningime leaves the filed on a stretcher.

The influential midfielder required treatment after he twisted his knee when blocking a late attempt on goal and there was concern when he was carried off on a stretcher.

However, the quality 23-year-old should be fit for this week’s trip to Glasgow.

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“I think he will be alright,” said Neilson. “He is up and walking about and showering. I think he just got a shock at the time. He twisted his knee a wee bit and after the physio went on and he was stretchered off, he will be getting a bit of stick if he is training tomorrow. I think he will be alright.

“Even when he came off he said he was all right. I think he just wanted a standing ovation!”

The Gorgie manager was thrilled to see his men get back to winning ways, maintaining their unbeaten home run, moving ahead of Celtic into second place and opening up a slight gap on the chasing pack.

St Mirren are a very good team, they press really well, they stop you trying to play, and they have players up front that can really influence the game. In these games the first goal is always going to be key and we managed to get it and then they needed to open up, and we could go and play.

“We’re pleased because we had a chance to do it last week and didn’t do it but we had another chance today and managed to get there. For us it’s more about winning games and we’ve been doing really well at Tynecastle. Now it’s a case of whether we take it into an away game and our next away game is in Glasgow.

“The big frustration is that at 0-0 we're the better team,” said St Mirren manager Jim Goodwin. “I'm not saying we were miles better but we were on top for the first 45 minutes, we pressed Hearts aggressively up the pitch, we played some good football and probably had the better opportunities. Key moments in the games are really coming back to bite us.”