Hearts’ Olly Lee looks likely to miss the Scottish Cup final, but it’s no real blow for the Jambos.
The Englishman came off at Celtic Park last Sunday. Craig Levein would later reveal to the BBC that it was a twisted knee he picked up. He left Celtic Park in crutches, and it certainly doesn’t look as though we’ll be seeing him on Sunday.
But don’t fall under the illusion that this is any sort of serious blow for Hearts. Lee hasn’t featured consistently over the last several months. He had started just two of Hearts’ last nine Premiership games before Sunday.
Levein rested the likes of Oliver Bozanic, Arnaud Djoum, and Peter Haring during the Parkhead clash. All three men will likely come right back into the squad next weekend at Hampden. Haring is a doubt, but Levein believes both he and Djoum will make the contest (BBC).
So Lee’s injury is nothing to get too excited about. It likely wouldn’t even weaken Hearts’ strongest starting XI. Haring and Djoum would be more likely to feature, with Bozanic there as first reserve.
Cochrane and Bozanic = plenty of cover
Harry Cochrane is another who can easily come in and be back-up if Hearts need him. They’re not exactly light on central-midfielders at the moment.
Sure, it provides the Jambos with a little less depth, but Levein won’t be losing sleep over Lee’s injury. You can take from it the fact that Levein thought Lee was dispensable enough to play at Parkhead on Sunday. He knows he has better options available than the Englishman, and they’ll be used if fit at Hampden.
The big one is, of course, Uche Ikpeazu, meanwhile. Levein has already told the BBC that he hopes the powerful forward to also be fit for Hampden. It’s a challenge that Kristoffer Ajer and Jozo Simunovic/Filip Benkovic will have to deal with better than they have done this season.
Ikpeazu has twice been a huge handful at Tynecastle. Celtic could do with him not being the same kind of pest this weekend.
In any case, there isn’t much of an injury crisis at Hearts. They still largely have their best XI available minus one or two. Lee certainly doesn’t come into that bracket either.