First Team

All systems go

1st July 2019

Craig Levein has revealed his squad emerged from Saturday’s friendly at Arbroath with a near-clean bill of health as they prepare to head to Ireland.

The Jambos fly out to Dublin today and face League of Ireland side Shelbourne this evening at Tolka Park.

They’ll spend five days in Dublin before travelling north to take on Glenavon at Mourneview Park on Saturday.

Craig is looking to give as many players as possible 90 minutes over the course of the two friendly matches, while the likes of Peter Haring, Michael Smith, Olly Lee and Callumn Morrison will work on their fitness back at Riccarton.

Speaking to HeartsTV, Craig said: “At this stage of the season, mainly, it’s just about getting some game time.

“We only got one injury in the match (against Arbroath), which is a little bit disappointing. Jay Sandison felt his hamstring in the first half so we took him off.

“Other than that everybody got through it without too much of a problem.

“We took the match with a view of hoping that all of our players would be fit and we could play much more of a recognised first team, but we’ve got a lot of different situations just now that involve players who have just been on international duty, Michael Smith’s wife is pregnant and due imminently, Craig Halkett had a little bit of an injury, Uche Ikpeazu had a little bit of an injury which they’ve both had injections for, and the list goes on.

“I’m happy with where those players are in their recovery and it just feels better for them to get a week’s training at home, rather than come across to Ireland with us.

“We’ll see how things go this week. I plan to play two completely different teams; one tonight and one on Saturday to try and give everybody 90 minutes because we have only one more match – Angus Beith’s benefit match – before we play a competitive game.

“It’s quite tight but I’m hopeful that we’ll be ready to go come the Dundee United match.”