Hearts v Raith Rovers: Robbie Neilson without trio

HEARTS head coach Robbie Neilson will be without three of his first-team players for Saturday’s Championship match against Raith Rovers at Tynecastle.

Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson watches over training. Picture: SNS
Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson watches over training. Picture: SNS

Adam Eckersley will miss the visit of the Kirkcaldy side, and the following game against Cowdenbeath, after the Gorgie club accepted the offer of a two-game ban from Scottish FA’s compliance officer Tony McGlennan.

The 29-year-old left-back was cited for headbutting Hibernian’s Scott Allan in Sunday’s Edinburgh derby at Easter Road - an incident which was missed by the match officials but was subsequently reviewed by McGlennan.

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Having already clinched the title, Neilson has taken the opportunity to treat the respective injuries of goalkeeper Neil Alexander and forward Billy King, and they are ruled out for the rest of the season.

Speaking to HeartsTV, Neilson said: “Neil’s been struggling on with a broken finger.

“It’s been difficult for him - he’s been training when he could and getting pain-killing injections to try to get him through the games.

“We just felt that once we got through the Hibs game then it would be good to get him put in, and he went for an operation (on Tuesday) and got the bone reset. He’ll be fine for pre-season.

“We decided a while ago that we would put Billy in once we were over the line in the league.

“He’s had a problem for a while and during the season he has been breaking down now and again with a problem with his ankle.

“We felt it’s a good time - the close season - to get it sorted because it’s something that could carry on throughout the rest of his career.

“We took the decision to take him out the last few games to get it sorted early so he’s back for pre-season.”