BY ALAN TEMPLE – Capital City Press
Hearts captain Alim Ozturk will miss the mouth-watering League Cup quarter-final against Celtic later this month following surgery to cure a hernia complaint.
The 22-year-old has been troubled by persistent pain and has not featured for the capital club since September 23, missing Hearts’ last two fixtures against the Hoops and Kilmarnock.
He consulted with a specialist in Bradford earlier this week, who recommended he go under the knife immediately to solve the issue. He is expected to miss a month of action.
Ozturk’s recovery from the minor operation will see him sidelined for upcoming fixtures against Dundee United, Ross County, Celtic and Partick Thistle, with Blazej Augustyn and Igor Rossi set to deputise.
It is understood Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson hopes to have the influential Turk back in contention for their Scottish Premiership fixture against Hamilton on November 7.
Ozturk, who was appointed club captain in the summer to replace Danny Wilson, has made 10 appearances this term, scoring twice.
Meanwhile, Tynecastle will play host to an Edinburgh derby this afternoon – despite the fierce rivals plying their trade in different divisions.
The two clubs’ under-18 sides will battle it out for the East of Scotland Shield in Gorgie, with the Hibees looking to claim the silverware for a remarkable 11th consecutive time.