Hearts injury update: Liam Boyce, Peter Haring and Ellis Simms pick up knocks - Robbie Neilson assesses Rangers final chances

Losing 3-1 to a makeshift Rangers side, Robbie Neilson does not believe that the result will impact on next weekend’s rerun at Hampden, when the clubs come together again to battle for the Scottish Cup. But injuries to key personnel could.

Liam Boyce caused concern when he went off with a groin complaint after just 12 minutes, and now faces a race against time to be fit and available for Saturday.

Furthermore, midfielder Peter Haring, playing in what could be his final match at Tynecastle unless a new contract can be agreed, hobbled off and had to ice his knee, while forward Ellis Simms was also taken off after feeling a twinge.

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“It was just a tight groin [for Boyce],” said Neilson. “He thinks it’s just a tightness. That’s all it is. As soon as there was any issue we just got him off. There’s no point in taking any risks.

Hearts' Liam Boyce goes off injured during the cinch Premiership match against Rangers.Hearts' Liam Boyce goes off injured during the cinch Premiership match against Rangers.
Hearts' Liam Boyce goes off injured during the cinch Premiership match against Rangers.

“Ellis was [feeling it] a wee bit, Peter Haring was a wee bit, after getting wee knocks.

“Hopefully, those two [Simms and Haring] will be OK. Liam will just be dependent on the next day or two and if it is just a tightness.”

Losing any of those three would be a blow to the capital side, who used the final league match of the season to give defenders John Souttar and Craig Halkett their first run-outs since March and April respectively.

Others who have been struggling with injuries, including Andy Halliday, Michael Smith, Cammy Devlin and Toby Sibbick were also given game time and, according to Neilson, came through unscathed. But he was particularly relieved to see two of his first choice centre-backs fitting back in ahead next weekend’s showcase.

“It was great to get them back on,” added Neilson. “You can see that rustiness there. But it was brilliant to have them there and you can see the level coming up when they come on. It’s just about that fitness now, can we get them there for the final.”

Asked if they were realistic options for the starting line up against Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s men next weekend, he said: “Yeah, 100 percent. We’ve got a bounce game here on Tuesday. They’ll get some game time in that and then we’ll make a decision after that.”

With so many changes in the Hearts team throughout the 90 minutes and with Rangers fielding what was pretty much a second string as they turn their focus to Seville and the Europa League final, Neilson does not believe it offers any real indicator of how things will pan out when the Scottish Cup is up for grabs.

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“I don’t think it matters too much,” he continued. “They made 10 changes and we made six. It’s about coming back on Monday and getting ourselves on it so we’re ready for Saturday.

“There were periods of the game when we weren’t aggressive enough. We didn’t get the press on and allowed them to play through. Potentially that was because we made a number of changes – putting guys in who hadn’t played together – so you get that sometimes.

“There’s disappointment about the performance but also we kind of expected it a little bit with the rustiness of some of them coming back into the game.”