Robbie Neilson reveals Josh Ginnelly's Hearts return date as he makes plans for Dundee's Osman Sow

Hearts winger Josh Ginnelly will soon return from isolation to reinforce the club’s promotion and Scottish Cup bids.
Josh Ginnelly is almost ready to return for Hearts.Josh Ginnelly is almost ready to return for Hearts.
Josh Ginnelly is almost ready to return for Hearts.

He is not available for Saturday’s league visit to Dundee but will resume training at Riccarton early next week. Coaching staff hope he will make the Scottish Cup second round tie against either Camelon or Brora Rangers next weekend.

Manager Robbie Neilson confirmed that Ginnelly, on loan from Preston North End until the summer, missed Hearts’ last two matches after testing positive for Covid 19.

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“He’s still isolating. That runs out on the fourth so he’ll be back training and then we will need to build him up slowly,” explained Neilson. “We’ll hopefully have him fully available for the Scottish Cup game.

“He’s fine. I don’t know if you know anyone that’s had it but it affects people differently. He feels a bit fluey, a bit stiff, a bit sore. I’ve spoken to him he’s in good spirits and desperate to get back in again.”

Hearts could have used Ginnelly’s pace and goalscoring threat at Dens Park in their first fixture of 2021. A win would create an 11-point gap between themselves and Dundee as they look to cement their place atop the Championship table.

With six goals in his last three games, the Dundee forward Osman Sow is a hazard to that plan. Neilson signed the Swede for Hearts, MK Dons and Dundee United and knows his qualities better than most.

“I know Osman very well, he’s been doing well recently. I’m pleased for the big man that he’s got himself back fit again,” said Neilson. “I obviously had him at Hearts, MK Dons and United and he had a few problems there.

“He snapped his achilles when he was there and it has been a long road back. He seems to have found his form again, which is great for him. Hopefully he doesn’t find it on Saturday.

“I have known him for a long time and I’m good friends with him. I know he has had a difficult year to 18 months. It shows you the strength he has that he has fought back again, because he has had a number of problems over the years.

“He’s always had the ability, just getting him playing regularly was the issue at MK and United. He has played the last few games and scored goals so he’s obviously found that form again.”

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Hearts defenders will be briefed on the danger posed by Sow and others in dark blue. “We do that with every team and striker we come up against and it will be no different with Osman,” added Neilson.

“We’ll also look at [Paul] McGowan, [Danny] Mullen and [Charlie] Adam. We’ll have a video package to show our boys what they will be up against and how to, hopefully, negate it.”

Full-back Stephen Kingsley should be fit after a stomach injury and Aidy White is training. Striker Liam Boyce remains “touch and go” according to Neilson, whose team have scored 29 goals in nine league games so far.

Six of those were against Dundee in the Championship’s opening game. “I’ve been involved in a few teams where it has been difficult to get goals, so when they start going in you want them to keep doing so,” added Neilson.

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