Jake Mulraney will be sidelined for up to six weeks as he becomes the latest Hearts player to be hit by injury.
The winger sustained ankle ligament damage towards the end of the 1-1 draw with Rangers last weekend and while manager Craig Levein is disappointed to lose him, he was trying to look on the bright side.
“It will be a month to six weeks, we think. I was actually elated with that because it wasn’t three months!” said Levein. “I expected the worst but it’s not as bad as we feared and I think that’s the first time I’ve been able to say that with any of the injuries.
“Genuinely I was thinking our luck is maybe turning a little bit. Things like these don’t go on indefinitely. But it’s a really difficult period for everybody to fight their way through just now.”
Hearts have been without seniors players Steven Naismith, Jamie Walker, Peter Haring, John Souttar and Craig Halkett for significant chunks of the season. Aidy White has also joined the casualty list
“Aidy will also miss Saturday [against Livingston] because he’s following concussion protocols after he came off on Sunday because he got a ball in the face,” confirmed Levein “He’ll be alright for St Johnstone [on Wednesday].
“Peter [Haring] has been training but is heading back to Austria to see his specialist because he has felt a little bit of pain. We want to get that looked at and hopefully get some confirmation that, at this stage in his recovery, it is to be expected. Steven Naismith trained yesterday with Jamie Walker. That was the first day back in with the group so the signs on the horizon are that things are starting to turn.
“We look like we are starting to get more players back and we need them. We are down to the bare bones, believe it or not. We have a big squad but nine of them are injured and things are looking a bit threadbare.”