Hearts boss insists Josh Ginnelly could make Hibs clash


HEARTS boss Robbie Neilson has revealed that Josh Ginnelly could make a miraculous recovery to face Hibernian.

The waspish winger, who has impressed since joining on loan from Preston, limped off during the early exchanges of the Jambos’ 1-0 win over Arbroath last Friday night.

Ginnelly left Gayfield in crutches as a precaution but Neilson last night suggested that he could yet be in contention for the derby showdown at Hampden.

Hearts manager Robbie Neilson | Hearts news
Robbie Neilson hopes to have a swathe of options for Hampden (Pic: Hearts TV)

“We’re going to try Gino on Thursday to see if he’s ready,” said Neilson. “He left the stadium on crutches as a precaution on Friday but it settled down over the weekend. He’s desperate to be with us.

“Jordan Roberts should be fine, Elliot Frear will be fine and we had the majority of the squad playing in a bounce game on Tuesday afternoon to get them all ready for Saturday.”

Peter Haring and Steven Naismith both played 45 minutes in a 5-2 victory over Airdrie yesterday, with Neilson hastily arranging the bounce game to ensure his entire squad were fit and sharp for their date with the Hibees.

“We took the bounce game on Tuesday against Airdrie to make sure the whole squad is ready, as well as the starters from the last couple of games,” he continued.

“We know the size of the game and understand the opportunity to not only beat your city rivals but also get to a Scottish Cup final. They understand the magnitude of it.”

Meanwhile, Neilson insists John Souttar could be back before the end of the season after describing the Scotland defender as ‘miles ahead’ of what the club expected in his recovery from a third ruptured achilles.

It was expected that he would not kick a ball again in the 2020/21 following the devastating set-back but he is making superb progress after having his protective boot removed and liaising with his surgeon.

“John’s actually just out of his protective boot and is miles ahead of where we thought he’d be,” explained Neilson. “We weren’t expecting the area to be in such good condition when the boot came off.

“He went back down to see the surgeon and he was really pleased with it.

“Now he’s stepped things up. He’s wearing trainers, has started on the bike. We didn’t want to put a timeframe on things, which is why we said it would be next season before he’s back – but the more he goes and more he progresses, we might see him back a little earlier.”