Hearts’ Scottish Cup win over Auchinleck Talbot marred by Michael Smith injury


BY ALAN TEMPLE, Tynecastle Park – @CCP_Sport

HEARTS’ comfortable Scottish Cup victory over Auchinleck Talbot was marred by an injury to Michael Smith which could see the defender sidelined for around six weeks.

Jambos boss Craig Levein confirmed that the Northern Ireland international suffered a thigh tear during the second half of their 4-0 win over the Juniors.

Smith will be sent for a scan on Monday to ascertain the severity of the set-back, but Levein is braced for bad news.

Levein confirmed: “The big downside was Mick [Michael Smith]. He was as professional as ever today and his performance was very good.

“But he’s torn his thigh muscle and he will be getting scanned on Monday.

“We don’t know how long he will be out. It depends how bad it is – whether it is a grade 1, 2 or 3. But it could be six weeks out, maybe longer.

“It was his standing leg when he passed the ball.”

Levein, who has welcomed Christophe Berra, John Souttar, Steven Naismith and Uche Ikpeazu back from serious injuries in recent months, smiled ruefully: “We are obviously not allowed to have them all fit, are we?”

Smith’s injury put a dampener on an otherwise satisfactory afternoon for Levein, who watched his side book their place in the quarter-final draw courtesy of goals from Christophe Berra, Demi Mitchell, Steven MacLean and a maiden senior goal from youngster Aidan Keena.

Levein continued: “It was a bit of a no-win situation for us, but I was pleased with our first-half performance.

“We didn’t quite play at the same intensity in the second half. We stopped playing the easy balls and tried to do something more difficult – but it didn’t cost us and we are through.”