Football - Stevenson glad to be back

Hearts forward Ryan Stevenson admits he was desperate to get back ahead of schedule to help his young team-mates after returning from injury in Saturday's goalless draw with Dundee United.

PA Sport
Football - Stevenson glad to be back
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Ryan Stevenson has returned to the Hearts side after a seven-week injury layoff

The experienced playmaker came off the bench in the second half to end a frustrating seven-week spell on the sidelines. The 29-year-old, in only the second Premiership game of the season, sustained knee ligament damage during the win over Edinburgh rivals Hibernian.

It was a bitter blow to Gary Locke, with the Tynecastle manager working with the youngest and smallest squad in the top flight.

Stevenson, who played his part in an exciting finish to the match as both teams pushed for the elusive goal, said: "It's good to get back involved and good to get some game time. It was a bit quicker than expected, we had been looking at 12 to 15 weeks so to get back in just under seven is great.

"I'm delighted with that and delighted to be back involved. Even though it was quicker than expected it was still a long seven weeks for me.

"I was mindful of the need to come back because the team obviously lacks a bit of experience."

The point collected by Hearts, who started the campaign on minus 15 points, has cut the gap to St Mirren at the basement to eight points, although the Buddies have two games in hand.

Hearts manager Locke was disappointed they did not secure all three points after voicing his frustration over the officials' decision to rule out Dylan McGowan's 37th-minute effort.

The Australian tapped in a long Callum Paterson throw-in but assistant referee Francis Andrews flagged for a shove on United goalkeeper Radoslaw Cierzniak.

Locke said: "I felt we should have taken all three points.

"It's another sore one to take because it's another big decision that's gone against us.

"The linesman disallowed the goal, I had a word at half-time and he said there was a push."

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