Hearts boss: I just couldn't risk Wallace

HEARTS boss Jim Jefferies would have loved to have given Lee Wallace a run-out before the Edinburgh derby – but he insisted today that the team had to come first.

The left-back hasn't played for the Tynecastle side since the end of August after suffering a serious injury to his posterior cruciate knee ligament in Scotland's Euro 2012 qualifier against Liechtenstein at Hampden in early September. However, he was on the bench for last night's 2-0 victory over St Mirren and is likely to be named as a substitute for Saturday's game against Hibs.

It took Hearts until the 63rd minute to break the deadlock in Paisley though and Jefferies conceded that if his side had taken their chances earlier, he would have had no qualms in giving the big defender some game time.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Jefferies said: "Lee Wallace has been training with us for three weeks but he has not had a game yet, I wanted to put him on the bench last night because he can cover two or three positions.

"I had hoped to get him on at some stage but he knows that the team is the most important thing and he is just happy to be back and involved again.

"What a competition for places we have got on our hands now. We had three changes last night with Marian Kello, Stephen Elliott and Rudi Skacel all ruled out but the guys who came in for them just continued from where we had left off in the previous game.

"We've won six games on the bounce away from home now, which is fantastic, and there is a real belief and spirit about the place just now that we can go on and have a good season, so hopefully we can do that."

Hearts fans were also given a welcome boost last night by the sight of Andrew Driver training with the rest of his team-mates prior to kick-off in Paisley.

The winger had knee surgery in the summer and then saw his comeback plans scuppered by a thigh strain in a bounce game. Jefferies, however, expects to have him available for selection again before the end of January and added: "It was the first time Andrew has seen grass in a while, so we took him through with us last night to give him a chance to get a feel for things again.

"He worked with the rest of the boys and with the physio before and after the game and the plan is that he will train with us for the rest of the week as normal.

"There's no chance for him for Saturday, he will need a couple of full weeks with us before we can look at him being involved again."