Hearts defender John Souttar thinks losing Uche Ikpeazu to injury will be as big a blow to Craig Levein’s side as losing talisman Steven Naismith.

Ikpeazu suffered a head injury after an accidental clash during the win over Aberdeen and could now be out of action for a while, depending on how he recovers.

30th March 2019, Tynecastle Park, Edinburgh, Scotland; Ladbrokes Premiership football, Heart of Midlothian versus Aberdeen; Scott McKenna of Aberdeen tackles Uche Ikpeazu of Hearts

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

Souttar insists that the big striker is a “great asset” for the Jambos and believes his performances show just how much he wants to impress at Tynecastle.

“He’s a great asset for us. He’s a great boy as well. You could see how much he wants to do well for the gaffer and the whole backroom staff. Every time he celebrates, he’s over there and that speaks volumes,” Souttar told The Herald.

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 10: Uche Ikpeazu of Hearts applauds fans as he is substituted during the Scottish Cup 5th Round match between Heart of Midlothian and Auchinleck Talbot at Tynecastle Stadium on February 10, 2019 in Edinburgh, Scotland.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

“He’d be as big a loss as Steven Naismith. When you lose Naisy as well it’s a massive one. We’ve shown that we can cope without him to an extent although someone like Naisy I think you will always miss.”

With the Jambos pushing closer to the top four, missing Ikpeazu for an extended spell would be a massive blow with some huge fixtures coming up.

After being knocked out cold, it seems unlikely he’ll play any part against Rangers on Wednesday night at Ibrox.

30th March 2019, Tynecastle Park, Edinburgh, Scotland; Ladbrokes Premiership football, Heart of Midlothian versus Aberdeen; Uche Ikpeazu of Hearts is stretchered off after head injury

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

The striker’s performance against Aberdeen showed just how important he can be with an all-action display for the Jambos.

Hearts need to hope there are no lasting effects to his injury and he can fire them to an unlikely Europa League spot for next season.

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