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Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson will have no qualms about playing Osman Sow in crunch Hibs match


Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson insists Osman Sow will decide whether he wants to make his Tynecastle swan song in tomorrow’s crunch Scottish Cup tie with fierce city rivals Hibs.

But even if Sow determines that the risk is not worth taking, Neilson insists new striker Abi Dauda is even better than the Swede.

Striker Sow jetted back into Edinburgh yesterday following an an epic 6,000 mile trek from Hong Kong where he completed a life-changing seven-figure transfer to Chinese side Henan Jianye.

Sunday’s meeting is the first match between the sides since April 2015

As part of the agreement, the 25-year-old is allowed to make a farewell appearance in Sunday’s mouth-watering fifth round tie.

But following a whirlwind week for the Hearts favourite, Neilson, who insists new signings Dauda, John Souttar and Don Cowie will all play some part in the game, admits Sow will have the final say on whether he plays.

Neilson said: “I spoke to Osman and he’s fine. He did a wee bit of running over there but it’s dependent on what Os wants to do.

“It’s a big contract he has out there and he has to be in the right frame of mind. If he wants to play then he’ll play.

“The deal is done and the agreement was that he comes back. He’s back for a few days for the game and to get his stuff.

“It will all be down to Osman and what he wants to do, we’ll respect what he wants to do.

“When I spoke to him before he left he was desperate to play in the game, that might have changed.

“I always think if you’re going into a game concerned that something might happen, then it will happen.

“You’re as well as just getting on with it. Any player that plays in any game has a value. Jamie Walker has a value, Sam Nicholson has value – so if we were worried about that we would never play them. It’s not an issue for us.

“It would be nice if he could come back and score the winning goal. We’ll wait and see what he does. If he decides to play then great, if he doesn’t then we’ve got other guys that can come in.”

Should Sow decide to be a spectator tomorrow, Neilson is more than confident that 28-year-old Nigerian Dauda, who signed on loan from Dutch side Vitesse Arnhem and has also played in Sweden and Serbia, can fill the void left by the former Crystal Palace player.

Neilson added: “Dauda is a wee bit different from Osman. He’s got great pace and his movement is probably better than Osman.

“Osman can make something out of nothing, he’s got a magic that he can create something. Dauda is probably a better all-round footballer.

“Dauda’s technically better dealing with the ball and with his movement, but that comes from the experience of playing in the top flight in three different countries.”

Neilson, who insists there is no urgency in sorting out a new contract for himself with 18 month to run on his current deal, is hoping his team have too much power for Hibs to handle on Sunday.

He said: “There’s two good teams there. Hibs are a good passing team, they’ve got a diamond in the midfield, they get a lot of possession and they get their full backs high.

“We play a different style of football, we’ve got a lot more athletic players, a lot of power and a lot of pace but we’ve also got good passers of the ball.

“We’ll also have a huge crowd backing us on Sunday. We’ll go into the game with full confidence we can get a result.”

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