Hearts: Defender Michael Smith sidelined for 'between six and 12 weeks' - Levein

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Smith injury a sour note - Levein

Hearts defender Michael Smith will be sidelined for "anything between six and 12 weeks" with a suspected torn muscle in his thigh, says boss Craig Levein.

Right-back Smith, 31, suffered the damage as Hearts eased into the Scottish Cup quarter-finals, beating junior side Auchinleck Talbot 4-0.

Levein described the injury as a "sour note" after an assured display from his Premiership side at Tynecastle.

"It's a massive blow to us," the Hearts manager told BBC Scotland.

"He brings a calmness to the team. We'll wait for the scan, but unfortunately it could be anything between six and 12 weeks."

Smith's injury could also rule him out of Northern Ireland's opening Euro 2020 qualifiers against Estonia and Belarus on 21 and 24 March.

Hearts led 3-0 at half-time thanks to goals from Christophe Berra, Demetri Mitchell and Steven Maclean, with Aidan Keena adding a late fourth - his maiden strike for the club.

"The first half was relatively good, I thought we let our standards drop in the second half and the boys know that," Levein added.

"I could nit-pick and talk about things we didn't do particularly well, but we're through. It was a huge crowd for a fifth-round tie against junior opposition, so I was delighted with that."

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