First Team

Craig will give youth a chance

17th May 2019

Craig Levein confirmed that he will give youth a chance in the final game of the Ladbrokes Premiership season against Celtic on Sunday.

With the Scottish Cup Final edging over the horizon, the gaffer is taking every precaution to make sure his star players are available for the showpiece.

"We’ll be a younger squad, definitely," Craig said. "How many of the youngsters start, we’ll have to wait and see. I’m inclined to give some of theme experience and game time."

"Some of the young boys will play, for sure, without giving too much away. It’s an experience for them. If anybody manages to excel in this particular match, it gives me some food for thought as well."

In the opposition dug-out, Celtic manager Neil Lennon may be forced into a similar position as up to 14 first-team players could miss out on this weekend's clash through injury.

"It’s sensible I think, if your players have a chance of making the final," Craig added. "They need to find out this weekend if they’re going to be ready for the final. We’ve got plenty of time.

"It’s a funny situation to be in. My main focus has to be making sure we’ve got all of our best players available for the final."

Craig also shed some light on the fitness of Uche Ikpeazu and Peter Haring, who he ruled out of action for this weekend.

"They’re both doing a little bit today so things should become clearer at the beginning of the week, just exactly where they are. We don’t have weeks to spare or else they would’ve had some game.
 
Of course, there’s three. Arnaud [Djoum], Uche and Peter. Arnaud’s achilles has been bothering him. That’s a little issue but if I was to be honest, I’m hopeful that all three will be fine [for the final]."

You can watch Craig's press conference in full on HeartsTV by clicking here.