Hearts V Ross County at Tynecastle Stadium : Match Preview

05 April 2013 09:01
Hearts V Ross County - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

All new for Hamill

Jamie Hamill was out injured for so long that he missed John McGlynn's tenure as Hearts manager and is now looking to resume his Jambos career under a former team-mate.

The 26-year-old defender suffered a freak training ground injury to his knee last April when Paulo Sergio was Gorgie boss and by the time he recovered to come on as a substitute against Aberdeen last week, the Portuguese manager's successor, McGlynn, had been replaced by coach Gary Locke.

Ahead of the visit of Ross County on Saturday in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League, Hamill discussed the "strange" situation of his former Kilmarnock team-mate being his new boss.

"I missed out on John McGlynn, which was unfortunate, it is never easy to see someone lose their job," he said. "I was training under him but couldn't play in any games.

"Obviously the new gaffer is in now but it is strange. I played with him at Kilmarnock so it is difficult but you just have to keep repeating it (gaffer) to try to get it to stick in your head.

"I am absolutely buzzing for him, though, he is a great guy and hopefully we can produce a result for him on Saturday and into next season because he has put in a lot of hard work over the years in getting his coaching badges.

"I haven't played against Ross County yet in the SPL so I am looking forward to it."

Hamill revealed his initial instincts following surgery to repair his anterior cruciate ligament was to fear for his career.

"I went to take a touch at training and I heard my knee go and I knew it was serious," he said.

"I felt as if I had been shot in the knee with a shotgun.

"It was the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) and I damaged bits around it. It was the full knee, basically, and meant a reconstruction.

"I didn't know what to expect and when I came out of the operation I was thinking 'is this meant to be this sore?'

"In the first few weeks you think 'am I ever actually going to get back from this?' Just because of the pain you feel in your knee.

"I think there are rods in my knee now but I don't know - I don't deal with that side of it as long as I can run, that's me fine.

"There has been a lot of hard work to get where I am now."

Darren Barr's ongoing ankle problem means he is unlikely to feature for Hearts.

Iain Vigurs and Sam Morrow are both injury doubts for Ross County, but winger Ivan Sproule has been passed fit while Stuart Kettlewell returns from suspension.

Ross County manager Derek Adams admits it will be difficult to secure a place in next season's Europa League - but his side will keep on trying to exceed expectations.

The Irn-Bru First Division champions sensationally sealed their place in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League top six earlier this week in their first season in the top flight.

Adams admits his team have surpassed his own pre-season targets - but they will not settle for the fourth place they are in now. A top-three finish would guarantee European football and that is the aim as County prepare to head to Tynecastle.

Adams said: "It'll be difficult, but we'll keep on going.

"We have done more than we could this season, the aim was to stay in the SPL, but with six games to go we cemented our position in the top six.

"So we really excelled this season, and that's great for the players of this football club.

"We are trying pick up as many points as we can between now and the end of this season knowing that we've got that top-six status for our first SPL season, but Inverness and Motherwell are ahead and they both are playing very well."

Ross County have lost only twice since strengthening in January with the addition of the likes of Steffen Wohlfarth, Evangelos Ikonomou, and Sproule.

Hearts have only won one game in 10 but Adams knows the game will not be easy.

"Especially at Tynecastle, it's a difficult venue to go to," he said.

"They play so well at home, they get balls into your penalty area quite quickly.

"Earlier on in the season they had a lot of long throws, and all the final third entries - we have to guard against that."

Adams confirmed Paul Gallacher would be in the squad after signing on a short-term deal after being made redundant by Dunfermline. Gallacher was brought in to challenge for the number one jersey after Mark Brown was ruled out for the season with a broken hand.

Source: PA

World Cup Group G

Pos Team Pld Pts
- Belgium 0 0
- Panama 0 0
- Tunisia 0 0
- England 0 0