First Team

Craig backs Vanecek to start

19th January 2019

Craig Levein revealed that new signing David Vanecek will probably start Sunday's Scottish Cup clash against Livingston.

The Czech striker has not played since the end of November but will likely be thrown in from the start, although his manager has no doubts over his selection.

"Is he 100 per cent? No. Is he ready to start? He hasn’t got a choice!" Craig joked. "He hasn’t played since the end of November, something like that. It is almost like a full summer of six weeks or something like that so he is not fully up to speed but we will see how he does."

Meanwhile, the gaffer has also been boosted by the news of John Souttar's return. The centre-back has returned to training following hip surgery and has recovered so well he is now being considered in tomorrow's squad.

"John was back on Wednesday in full training and looks fantastic – like he has never been away," Craig said.

"The operation has solved a couple of impingement issues he had in his hips and there were some positions he got into where he felt restricted but all of those have gone.

"I want John Souttar involved," he added. "I don't know if he'll play but he's worked extremely hard to get himself back on the field and in a position where he's almost ready." 

Uche Ikpeazu is also nearing a return, as is Peter Haring, as they recover from foot and hernia surgeries respectively.

"I would think that going into February we will be back to full strength and maybe even stronger than we were previously," the manager said. "It's pleasing for me that everyone is coming back, looking good and there's going to be more competition for places."