Aberdeen defender Mikey Devlin will miss the start of the Scottish Premiership season.
The 26-year-old, capped three times by Scotland last year, suffered a hamstring injury during Saturday’s 2-2 friendly draw against Ross County at Cormack Park.
Devlin will miss the season-opener against Rangers on August 1 and Dons boss Derek McInnes expects it will be September before the former Hamilton Accies captain is back fit.
He said: “He pulled his hamstring 20 minutes into the game.
“He has never had any problems with that hamstring so it was a real blow for him and us because he has done particularly well throughout the pre-season work.
“He hasn’t missed a day’s work and then that happens in the first friendly.
“He is now going to miss the Rangers game.
“He will get a scan towards the end of the week and we will see the extent of it but it’s not good news.
“We know we have to play competitive games to get where we want to get to. Sometimes with that comes injuries.
“It is a fine balance at the minute as we want to have as many players available for that first game of the season.
“It looks more likely that we won’t see him for the month of August.
“We will need to get the scan to confirm that.”
McInnes is confident that the defender, who featured for Scotland against Russia, San Marino and Cyprus last season, will bounce back quickly from the setback.
He said: “He is a positive big guy.
“He has been though the mill with injuries through his career so this isn’t anything new to him.
“At the same time, Mikey has always been very good at setting goals to get back.
“Hopefully whatever the scan shows we can get him back a bit quicker.
“There is no doubt it is a blow. We have four centre-backs in the building and we are one down now.
“It puts a bit of pressure on the training as we have to make sure we aren’t exposing the other ones to any real danger of injury.
“We are cautious but we have to crack on with the work to make sure the boys are ready for that first game.”
McInnes, meanwhile, said he was delighted that striker Sam Cosgrove remains at Pittodrie after turning down the chance to move to French side Guingamp.
The Ligue 2 side had a bid of around £2million accepted last week but Cosgrove opted to stay with the Dons.
McInnes said: “I don’t think anybody wants to see their top scorer leave the building.”