Now that Hearts have reached the Scottish Cup Final after defeating Inverness, talk will turn to the fitness of a key Hearts player – Steven Naismith.

Such is Naismith’s importance to Hearts, that his availability for the final could well dominate the build-up to the game.

The striker hasn’t played for the Tynecastle side since March, after undergoing a second knee operation this season.

(photo by David Young/Action Plus via Getty Images)

However, last month Craig Levein confirmed to the BBC that Naismith should be back before the end of the season.

(Photo by Alan Rennie/Action Plus via Getty Images)

Now that the Jambos have reached the cup final, it will be a race against time to ensure that Naismith can play some part in the game.

(Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Of course, there is a problem with rushing the player back to fitness. He could well breakdown and suffer another injury.

That is what will be dominating Levein’s mind. When you consider that Naismith has had two operations this year it would be a big risk to rush back his recovery process.

If Hearts want Naismith involved in the cup final, they will at least need to get him some playing time before the game.

Even a bounce game would be acceptable, just to test his fitness. No doubt the debate over Naismith will run and run.

Craig Levein will have the final say though, and he will do what is right for both the player and the club.


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