CALLUM PATERSON and skipper Perry Kitchen will be banned for Hearts’ trip to Celtic next month – if they are booked against Partick Thistle at the weekend.
Both players have amassed five league cautions and will walk a suspension tightrope at Tynecastle on Saturday.
A sixth booking automatically triggers a one-match ban under SFA disciplinary rules. The suspension would take effect 14 days after the sixth caution which, for Paterson and Kitchen, would be Saturday, December 31.
Since the club have no game that day and the Premiership enters its four-week winter break, their next league fixture is the visit to Celtic Park on Saturday, January 28.
The prospect of heading to Glasgow to face the reigning champions without the club captain and top goalscorer is one new Head Coach Ian Cathro will be desperate to avoid.
Hearts are due to play Raith Rovers in the Scottish Cup fourth round on Sunday, January 22 – the week before the Hoops encounter.
Paterson and Kitchen would be available for that tie as any suspension would only apply to league games.