Scottish football news: Premiership leaders Hearts dealt double injury blow with John Souttar and Uche Ikpeazu facing five months out

18 Oct

Scottish Premiership leaders Hearts have been dealt a major blow to their title ambitions, with news defender John Souttar and striker Uche Ikpeazu have both been sidelined with injury.

The Jambos have been this season’s surprise package, with Craig Levein’s side holding a two-point lead at the top of a competitive table.

John Souttar and Uche Ikpeazu are set for around five months out

But the Edinburgh club’s hopes of maintaining their position at the league summit have been severely dented by Thursday’s injury update.

Souttar and Ikpeazu have both been ruled out of action for at least five months.

Scotland international Souttar, 22, suffered a muscle tear in his hip during the international break and could miss the next six months as a result.

Former Reading and Watford youngster Ikpeazu has made a major impact for Hearts since signing from Cambridge United in the summer, but he is also set for a spell on the sidelines.

The 23-year-old has been told a recent foot injury requires surgery that could keep him out until March.

Craig Levein has guided Hearts to the top of the Scottish Premiership

Levein said: “John will be out for five or six months by the looks of things. He landed awkwardly and tore the lining of his hip, which is a blow.

“While we’re on it, Uche will be out for five months as well by the looks of things. This problem we’ve had with his foot we’ve managed to finally get to the bottom of.

“It’s a really obscure problem which needs an operation.”

The timing of the double blow is particularly bad, with Hearts set to face Celtic over two legs in a Scottish League Cup semi-final in the coming weeks.

They are also scheduled to play city rivals Hibernian, who are currently second in the table, in the league before the end of the month, and will do so without two of their key first-XI.

Souttar has started all 14 of Hearts’ matches this season, and won his first Scotland caps against Belgium, Albania and Israel.

Ikpeazu, meanwhile, has scored four goals in ten games since his arrival from Cambridge.