BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
HEARTS starlet Harry Cochrane could be fit to face Hamilton after the knee injury picked up against Ross County proved less severe than first feared.
The 16-year-old saw another impressive display curtailed after 79 minutes when he limped off to be replaced by Prince Buaben, with boss Craig Levein admitting after the match that he suspected the teenager had suffered medial ligament damage.
However, those concerns proved unfounded and Cochrane is expected to return to full training this week ahead of the Accies’ visit.
Cochrane has already made seven appearances for the Jambos this terms and even teed up the winning goal for Kyle Lafferty when they last tasted victory in the Premiership – a 1-0 triumph over St Johnstone at Murrayfield on October 21.
Hearts are also set to be boosted by the impending return of John Souttar following a fortnight on the sidelines.
The classy defender suffered concussion and whiplash following a horror collision against Latvia’s under-21 side on November 10 while on international duty and, despite taking part in light training last week, was omitted from the clash against County as a precaution.
However, he is expected to return to the fold in time to step in for veteran stopper Aaron Hughes, who is a major doubt for the upcoming fixture after limping out of Saturday’s stalemate at half-time with a slight calf complaint.
Hughes missed six weeks of action this term and spent three months sidelined last season with a similar issue, so Levein is in no mood to take any chances with the 38-year-old.
Levein is hopeful Hughes’ compatriot Kyle Lafferty will be fit to start against Hamilton after being restricted to a place among the substitutes against County due to a bout of the flu.