CHRISTOPHE BERRA has revealed his determination to overcome the first major injury of his career and return ‘fitter and stronger’ for Hearts.
The Scotland cap has been told the operation he underwent on Thursday to repair his torn hamstring has been a success and he has already set himself a target date for a return.
The 33-year-old will spend the first six weeks on crutches before being able to begin a lengthy rehabilitation period he has been told will last six months.
However, the former Ipswich Town defender is adamant he will remain upbeat as he seeks as short a spell as possible on the sidelines.
The Jambos captain, who picked up the injury in the recent 1-0 win over Celtic, said: “I feel good. I had the operation on Thursday morning, so it’s all good, the pain’s not too bad and I’m just looking forward to the road to recovery.
“The surgeon was happy, he was really positive. He’s done a lot of these surgeries in the past with top players, and he was really positive on the outcome; it went really well.
“I’ve never been seriously injured, I’ve never had an operation in my life and I’ve never been out for any longer than two or three weeks..
“The team are doing well and I want to be a part of it, so it’s the thought of missing out. But I just need to be positive, and I am.
“The way I look at it, the time will fly by and as soon as I get off my crutches I’ll be working hard in rehab and hopefully come back fitter and stronger than ever.
“In my head, I’ve set a target of when to get back, but I won’t say that because I’m sure the physios would be a bit disappointed if I did.
“One of the positives is that it has happened now and I’ll be back before the end of the season. If it had happened around Christmas time I would probably be out for the season.
“Hopefully I’ll get a few games in before the end of the season.”
Berra has vowed to be around the Hearts squad as much as possible during his recovery and will attend as many games as he can to cheer on his team-mates.
And he has backed his replacement as captain, John Souttar, to revel in the role – at least on the pitch.
Berra told Hearts TV: “Soapy’s been made the captain. He had his big task last Friday giving out the tickets and I don’t think that went so well!
“So, I’ll be back in on Friday to take a bit of pressure off him and give out the tickets.
“He’s done really well. He’s one of the first names on the team-sheet and it’s great for him.
“I was captain at the same age and he’s only going to learn from it. He’s a good guy and a good professional and he’s only going to get better, so I’m really happy for him.
“Hopefully he can thrive on it and keep his performances up, and even get better.”