Liam Boyce has admitted he feared the worst when injury struck a week before the Scottish Cup final but the Hearts star says he will be fit to face Rangers on Saturday.
The forward had to be replaced just 12 minutes into the final Premiership game of the season as the two sides met in a warm-up for the main event at Hampden this weekend.
Boyce felt pain in his groin when sprinting and was immediately replaced by Josh Ginelly, with Hearts fans concerned that they would be without a key player for the season finale. The forward admitted he shared their fears.
“On Saturday I went to sprint and just felt a twinge,” he said.
“You think automatically “oh s***, we have a big game next week” but obviously I think I’ve got lucky this time.
“I was thinking about trying to play on but with such an important game coming I just sat down and got taken off as a precaution.
“It was sore at the time but it is feeling better now so it is looking more optimistic.”
Boyce will now face a week of build-up as he tries to convince manager Robbie Neilson he is deserving of a starting place, and steers clear of risking any setback.
He added: “It is a balancing act – I will take it a bit easier at the start of the week but you don’t want to be going in to a game without training really.
“I will build myself up and make sure I am ready and I can last the whole game.
“I will have to be honest with how I am feeling but if you asked me to play with one leg then that’s the way it is going to be, I’d be saying I could play on one leg!
“But of course you don’t want it to be to the detriment of the team because we have all worked hard to get here so we have to give ourselves the best opportunity to win.
“Even if I was fully fit and we thought our best chance of winning was with me on the bench then I would take that happily.”