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Heffernan is ready for cup tie with Rangers

Paul Heffernan, the Hibernian striker, is convinced he is fit enough to face Rangers in the first round of the Petrofac Training Cup on Tuesday after returning from injury in a friendly match with East Fife on Wednesday night.

The 32-year-old has been sidelined for much of pre-season as the result of a thigh complaint but completed 25 minutes in a goalless draw against East Fife.

Having come through that with no ill effects, the Irishman has acknowledged that he is ready to lead the line during the opening match of the domestic campaign, against Rangers. He hopes, too, that his comeback will coincide with a return to goalscoring form since Hibs have failed to score in three of their six friendly matches.

"I am ready to get some minutes under my belt at Ibrox," said Heffernan. "It's a huge game to start the season and it's a great draw for both clubs. We've spoken about going there trying to play the way the manager wants us to play.

"We're excited about going there and putting on a good performance. Rangers are strong favourites for the league we are in this season, so it will be a good test for ourselves to go there and compete.

"We know we haven't scored bucket loads but it's a work in progress. I think the players we have here are going to create plenty of chances and it is up to myself and the other strikers to put them away."

Injury has prevented Heffernan from working to impress new head coach Alan Stubbs in training - the Englishman has also been unconvinced by trialist Michael Richardson, who has now left the club - but the striker has been assured that he will have a significant part to play in the Edinburgh side's promotion push.

"I have picked up niggling injuries but, touch wood, my injury problems are behind me," said Heffernan. "We have been a little overcautious in the last week or so, actually, but I don't want to do any more damage.

"You want to impress the new manager when he comes in and show what you can do. However, he spoke to me when I was injured and told me not to rush back. He said it's going to be a long season ahead, so that was brilliant."

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