Hearts midfielder Peter Haring admits he is honoured to have been entrusted with the captain’s armband, despite the misfortune afflicting his predecessors in the role.
Following injuries to club skipper Christophe Berra and successive stand-ins John Souttar and Steven Naismith, the Austrian is now the fourth player to lead the Ladbrokes Premiership leaders out in matches.
Given the fate that has befallen those who have previously taken on that responsibility, Haring could have been forgiven for being less than enthused when manager Craig Levein told him of his plans.
Hearts’ momentum has undoubtedly been impeded by the aforementioned set-backs.
Berra sustained a serious hamstring injury in August and is hoping to return next month; Souttar is out until at least the end of January with a hip issue, while Steven Naismith recently picked up a knee problem. There is also Uche Ikpeazu’s absence in attack with a foot complaint.
However, Haring, a summer recruit from Austrian side SV Ried, is refusing to consider the captaincy being cursed.
“I’m not really concerned,” said the 25-year-old, who will captain the team in today’s visit of Kilmarnock as Hearts look to respond to last weekend’s 5-0 loss at Celtic.
“It’s normal for me to wear the armband. When the gaffer gave it to me I was a little bit surprised. It’s an honour and I’m proud to wear it.
“Although our kitman Goggsy, he gave me a red one because he told me he didn’t want to give me the yellow one. I don’t even know where the yellow one is.”
Haring, who has been hampered by a hernia complaint that may eventually require an operation, was handed the armband ahead of the recent controversial goal-less draw with derby rivals Hibernian, although there were conditions attached given the team’s dearth of forwards for the match.
He added: “In the morning before the Hibs game I went to his (Levein’s) office.
“First of all he gave me the armband and told me I was going to be captain.
“I was surprised but I said to him him it was a really big honour for me and that I’m thankful for that.
“Then he told me he wanted me to play striker, so that was the main theme.”
Haring, who arrived as a defender but has established himself as a central midfielder – scoring five goals in the process, added: “I said ‘yeah, why not?’
“I could see what he was thinking and I said I would give my everything wherever I play and I said I would try to help and do my best.
“Of course, it is not my best position and on the pitch, especially at the beginning of the game, it felt weird because
“I am not a striker and I wasn’t always sure about where I had to go and what I had to do. I don’t think I will play as a striker too often but it was a nice experience.”
Haring admits there is no definitive timetable on when he could go under the knife to mend his niggling hernia injury.
He added: “I felt it more during the Celtic game at Murrayfield (in the Betfred Cup semi-final)
“It’s gotten better since then and I now I don’t really feel it.
“I can handle it much better now because I know what I have to do to recover. I feel good and I’m fit enough to play and we’ll just see how it feels.
“I will see if I still need an op. At the moment I feel good and I feel ready to play. As long as I can play I’ll do that.”