Craig Levein insists that Christophe Berra will feature against Rangers as long as he feels ready.
The skipper, out since August after tearing his hamstring, made a return to action during a midweek friendly match at Linlithgow Rose.
He came through the game unscathed, despite torrid weather conditions, and is already in the manager’s thinking for Sunday’s visit of the Ibrox side.
Craig admits he’s happy to see some of his injured stars making progress towards full fitness, and thinks having the likes of Christophe and Steven Naismith back in the side will boost his team’s confidence whilst making the opposition nervous.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference today, Craig said: “Christophe’s fine. The weather was horrendous on Wednesday and the pitch was quite heavy but he got through it no problem.
“Yeah, he’s in my mind for Sunday. He’s such an important player for us.
“That has the other side to it of course in that we’ve missed him in the time that he’s been out and I wouldn’t like to prolong that injury by playing him when he’s not ready.
“He felt good after the game but we’ll see how he is today and tomorrow. Obviously, if he’s feeling good then I’ll throw him in.
“We’ve got some midweek matches coming up as well so I need to look at that but firstly I’m just thinking about Sunday.
“I just think his presence in the team and on the teamsheet, even (will help lift the team).
“The fact that we start to see him back, and I’m hoping to get Naisy back in a couple of weeks, should boost the confidence of our players and also maybe fire a little warning shot across the bow of the opposition.
“It’s been a difficult time so it’s good to start to the see the players getting back on to the training ground.”
Craig’s pre-match press conference is available to watch in full on HeartsTV by clicking here.