Neilson '11 out of 10' sure Hearts duo will be fit for cup final

John Souttar is back in training while Craig Halkett is expected to return in the next fortnight.

Robbie Neilson is certain Hearts will have key defenders John Souttar and Craig Halkett fit for the Scottish Cup final.

Asked to rate the pair’s chances of being available for the showpiece match against Rangers on May 21, the Hearts boss said “eleven out of ten”.

Souttar is back in light training after a tidy up operation on his ankle, while scans on Halkett’s ankle revealed his injury is not as has as first feared.

Neilson said: “I would expect them both to be available for it.

“John is on the pitch now running and he’s holding up.

“Craig we know the situation and he will probably be available for the league game against Rangers – at least part of it

“Then the decision will be whether he plays in the final or not.”

“At this time the only player that will miss it will be [Beni] Baningime.”

Neilson will be cautious with his key men over the next three weeks with Hampden in mind.

Cammy Devlin may miss Saturday’s visit of Ross County as he continues to recover from a hamstring injury while Ellis Simms’s workload is being managed as he nurses a knock.

Stephen Kingsley and Andy Halliday are back in full training.

Neilson said: “We have to manage them. It is about winning games but it also about getting the players game-ready and match-fit for the cup final.

“We need to win, so the strongest team available will play.

“But the guys coming back from injuries will be filtered in to these games.”

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