Hearts defender John Souttar gets the thumbs up to start running in his recovery from injury

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Hearts defender John Souttar has handed the Gorgie outfit a boost after returning to running in his recovery from a ruptured Achillies tendon.

The 20-year-old was given the thumbs up to progress his rehabilitation following an encouraging consultation with a specialist in London.

Hearts physio Karen Gibson accompanied the former Dundee United on the trip south of the border and posted a message on Twitter alongside a video of Souttar running along the pavement.

Souttar sustained the injury in the January 29 defeat at Celtic and was initially warned that he could face up to nine months on the sidelines.

The Scotland Under-21 cap, who said last month that he was ahead of schedule in his recovery, is expected to miss the opening games of next season but the sight of Souttar back running will be welcomed by Hearts supporters.

Gibson tweeted: “Raving reviews with the specialist in London. John Souttar is back running and on (fire).”

Speaking in April, Souttar said: “I won’t be back by pre-season training but they’re looking at August, hopefully. I’ll have to do my own pre-season.”

The Gorgie club, meanwhile, have handed a new one-year contract to Bulgarian striker Nikolay Todorov.

The 20-year-old spent the first half of the campaign on loan at Cowdenbeath before moving to Livingston in January and helping the West Lothian outfit clinch the League One title.

In 36 appearances last term, Todorov, who joined Hearts in summer 2016, scored nine goals.

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