Hearts defender John Souttar admits he is targeting a summer comeback after scans confirmed that he ruptured his Achilles tendon during last weekend’s defeat at Celtic.
Souttar, who is expected to undergo an operation on Monday, sustained the injury in the dying stages of the 4-0 defeat and had to be taken from the pitch on a stretcher.
But the former Dundee United central defender’s disappointment at facing a length spell on the sidelines has been tempered by the fact that he will not be out for an entire year as initially feared.
“On the bright side, I’m not spending a year on the sidelines. However, I’m still gutted that I won’t get to finish the rest of the campaign.
“Now we just get the operation out of the way and aim for returning in pre-season a stronger and better player.
“It’s been a good season for me up until this point as I had been playing every week, but I’ll just use that as motivation to get back to fitness and win my place back in the team.”
Souttar will have Callum Paterson for company during their respective rehabilitation programmes after the Scotland full-back was ruled out for up to nine months when he damaged knee ligaments in December’s win over Kilmarnock.
Souttar added: “I’ve got the likes of Callum Paterson and Sam Nicholson who will be able to offer me advice on long-term injuries and I know I’ll have the support of everyone at the club.”