Hearts could rue starting Northern Irish international striker Liam Boyce in the defeat to Rangers after the powerful striker went off injured in the first half.

The ex-Cliftonville forward is an important player for the Jambos but hobbled off after only 12 minutes in the 3-1 loss to the Ibrox side.

Heart of Midlothian v Hibernian - Scottish Cup: First Semi-Final
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An important player for the club, the decision to play the big forward in what was essentially a meaningless game may come back to haunt Robbie Neilson.

The Jambos have a Scottish Cup Final clash with Rangers at Hampden next weekend and will need their best players to be fit and firing if they want to lift the trophy.

Rangers go into the match firm favourites and for the same reason, Gers supporters will have been grateful to see Giovanni van Bronckhorst rest so many first teamers for the game.

The Gers have a showpiece Europa League Final to compete for before the Scottish Cup clash against Hearts and took no chances on the trip to Tynecastle.

Liam Boyce amongst three Hearts players carrying knocks post-Rangers

Speaking after the game, Hearts boss Robbie Neilson confirmed Liam Boyce has a groin problem but remains hopeful he and several others will make the game next week.

The likes of Hearts goalscorer Peter Haring also appeared to be carrying a knock whilst Rangers fans will be glad to hear forward Elliot Simms being namedropped by the Edinburgh club’s boss.

“It was just a tight groin. He thinks it’s just a tightness. That’s all it is. As soon as there was any issue we just got him off. There’s no point in taking any risks,” said Neilson [Daily Record].

Celtic FC v Heart of Midlothian - Cinch Scottish Premiership
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“Ellis Simms was a wee bit tight, Peter Haring was a wee bit tight, just getting them wee knocks.

“Hopefully those two will be fine, Liam will just be dependent on the next day or two if it is just a tightness.”

Meanwhile, Rangers fans have been left frustrated with the comments on one journalist ahead of their trip to Seville.

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