The Hearts teenager was originally expected to be out for six or seven weeks after being injured in the build-up to the League Cup semi-final against Inverness, and had harboured hopes of being back in contention for next month’s final against St Mirren. But he underwent an operation earlier today to have a pin inserted in the foot, and spoke of his disappointment at missing the Hampden match and the culmination of his team’s league campaign.
“It’s devastating to have this happen at this stage of the season, especially with the League Cup final coming up and big league games to look forward to as well,” Paterson, 18, said. “I was hoping to get a medal in my first season, but it’s not to be. I suppose that’s life and these things happen in football.
“My focus will be on getting fully fit for pre-season and trying to impress the manager again to get back into the first team at the start of next season. I aim to come back even fitter and stronger after this setback. I’m still young and hopefully there are a lot more opportunities in front of me.”
Later, Paterson tweeted to say he had been pleased with how the operation went. “Operation went well this morning,” he said. “Really bad timing but on the mend and I can’t wait to get back playing.”
Hearts manager John McGlynn, who is already without left-back Danny Grainger for the rest of the season because of injury, expressed his disappointment at losing a player who has made such a favourable impression since breaking into the first team. “It looks like Callum’s season is finished as they are talking about three months out,” McGlynn said. “It’s similar to a metatarsal injury, but he is going to have to get a pin inserted into his foot.
“It’s a blow not only to Callum but also to the team. Callum has come into the side at just 17 years of age and scored four goals and was having a great season and he has got an extended contract.
“It is just a shame that he injured himself in a freak training ground accident and is having to undergo an operation, because he may feel his whole world has caved in on him. We’ll look after him. He’ll come back better and stronger, and hopefully he can maybe make a game towards the end of the season.”
Even playing in the odd game, or part of a game, would represent a speedier return than predicted for Paterson, and he would surely not have time to regain full match fitness before the end of the season. In effect, a one-off outing, perhaps as a substitute, would form part of his pre-season training for the 2013-14 campaign.
McGlynn had better news regarding right-back Jamie Hamill, who has been out since last season with cruciate damage. The former Kilmarnock player was unable to return to training with the first-team squad earlier this week as scheduled, because the bad weather meant that training was indoors on Astroturf and at present he needs to train on grass. Yesterday, however, with the pitches at Riccarton softer, Hamill was able to take part in the session with his team-mates.
“Jamie needs bounce games and he’ll train for the first time with us this morning,” the manager added yesterday. “I haven’t worked with Jamie yet, and knowing him he’ll have his eye on a cup final berth.”