MIHAI POPESCU will link up with his Hearts teammates for the first time on Thursday morning after completing his period in quarantine.
Popescu, 27, joined the Jambos from Romanian giants Dinamo Bucharest on September 17 to bolster Robbie Neilson’s defensive options.
However, Covid-19 travel regulations meant that the former St Mirren loan star was obliged to isolate for a fortnight.
Hearts supplied equipment and provided a detailed plan to allow Popescu to train at home in the meantime and it is hoped he is not too far behind his teammates in terms of base fitness.
Popescu will be assessed by coaching and medical staff at their Riccarton base and, should he be deemed ready, is expected to make his first appearance in maroon when Hearts face Partick Thistle in a friendly at Firhill on Friday night.
Popescu’s availability will be a major boost for Neilson, with Christophe Berra still nursing a calf strain and John Souttar sidelined until well into 2021 after suffering a devastating achilles injury.
Ex-Rangers ace Andy Halliday could also be handed his first outing for the Jambos against the Jags.