Boost for Hearts as Michael Smith could return to action after split

A scan has shown Smith's injury is not as serious as feared.

Boost for Hearts as Michael Smith could return to action after split SNS Group

Hearts have been given a boost with news that Michael Smith may not be a long-term absentee after suffering an injury against Hibs.

Smith had to be substituted just five minutes into Sunday’s Edinburgh derby, leaving the field with a hamstring injury before his side lost to a Kevin Nisbet goal.

It was feared that a serious injury could have ended the 34-year-old’s season and narrowed interim manager Steven Naismith’s options at the back.

However, scans have revealed that the injury is not as serious as first thought and the defender will miss the next couple of weeks but could return to help Hearts in the push to finish third.

The Tynecastle club have had further good news with the return of two long-term absentees. Liam Boyce and Beni Baningime have both missed the vast majority of the season with cruciate ligament injuries.

The pair have come through lengthy rehabilitation programmes and are now taking part in full training along with the rest of the Hearts squad.

The Gorgie side face a crucial Premiership match at home to Ross County as they seek to turn around their form and fight for guaranteed European group stage football.

Hearts had looked secure in third place in the league before a run of four Premiership defeats, couple with Aberdeen’s rise up the table, led to the departure of Robbie Neilson.

Naismith’s first game in charge ended in defeat at Easter Road and the team are looking to pick up what could be a vital three points against struggling County on Saturday lunchtime.