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Apr 30, 2022 at 3pm UK at Tynecastle Park
Hearts
0 - 0
Ross County
 
FT

Callachan (15'), Tillson (59'), Watson (67'), Spittal (75')

Preview: Hearts vs. Ross County - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Hearts vs. Ross County - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Saturday's Scottish Premiership clash between Hearts and Ross County, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Hearts will welcome Ross County to Tynecastle on Saturday, in the second round of fixtures of the second phase of the Scottish domestic season.

A win over Dundee United last time out confirmed a third-placed finish in the Scottish Premiership table for the hosts with four games left to play, while the visitors find themselves in a fight for fourth spot after scraping into the Championship group when the league split.


Match preview

After winning promotion back from the second tier last season, Hearts have enjoyed an eye-catching campaign in the Scottish Premiership, keeping pace with Celtic and Rangers for large parts of the season.

Having already comfortably sealed a place in the Championship group, Robbie Neilson's side rounded off the first phase of fixtures with a 3-1 win over rivals Hibernian, thanks to Andy Halliday's brace and a Stephen Kingsley goal, to finish third on 57 points from their 33 games.

Before entering the second stage, Hearts again met their Edinburgh rivals, in a Scottish Cup semi-final tie at Hampden Park, and Kingsley was again on the scoresheet alongside Ellis Simms as they overturned a deficit to win 2-1 and book a place in the final.

Upon their return to league action, the Tynecastle outfit travelled to take on Dundee United in the first game of the second phase last time out, and, in a dramatic encounter, they eventually left with a 3-2 victory as Liam Boyce, Josh Ginnelly and Simms all found the net, confirming a third-placed finish in the Scottish top flight and the possibility of European football next season.

While they cannot move any higher or lower in the division, Neilson's men will still aim to finish the season in a strong manner alongside their trip to the Scottish Cup final, with the chance to stretch their unbeaten run to 10 games on Saturday.

They welcome a Ross County side keen to get off the mark in the second phase, having sneaked into the top six in the Scottish Premiership.

With 36 points from 31 games, Malky Mackay's side looked at risk of dropping into the relegation group for the final run of the campaign, but they finished the first phase on a high, firstly holding Saturday's opponents to a 1-1 draw on home turf.

Then, in the final round of fixtures, the Staggies produced a vital 1-0 win away at Aberdeen, thanks to Joseph Hungbo's 86th-minute goal from the penalty spot, seeing them leapfrog Livingston, Hibernian and Motherwell and seal a top-six finish.

Mackay's side faced a tough start to the second phase, as they hosted league leaders Celtic last weekend, and goals from Kyogo Furuhashi and Jota ensured the visiting giants left with all three points.

With the Staggies only leading Motherwell on goal difference and trailing by Dundee United by one point, they will aim to put an important win on the board on Saturday in the race for a fourth-placed finish in the Scottish Premiership.

Hearts Scottish Premiership form:
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W

Hearts form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W

Ross County Scottish Premiership form:
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • L

Team News

Hearts remain without key midfielder Beni Baningime, who is sidelined for the rest of the season through injury, with defenders John Souttar and Craig Halkett also out of action, while Stephen Kingsley and Andy Halliday both missed out last weekend due to knocks and Aaron McEneff was forced off in the first half.

Such troubles leave Neilson with limited options throughout the team, and he may again have to deploy a back three of Taylor Moore, Toby Sibbick in front of Scotland international Craig Gordon, who has shone between the sticks this season.

Everton loanee Ellis Simms will be pushing to return to the starting XI, having hit six goals in 16 appearances since his January arrival, although competition for places in attack is rife with Liam Boyce and Josh Ginnelly on the scoresheet last time out and Barrie McKay having provided 12 assists in 34 appearances this campaign.

Ross County are set to remain without goalkeeper Ashley Maynard-Brewer, while centre-back Jack Baldwin will serve the second game of a two-match suspension after accumulating 10 league yellow cards.

Winger Regan Charles-Cook remains a key man in attack, having hit 10 goals in the first phase of the Scottish Premiership season.

He could again flank Jordan White, with Blair Spittal another attacking threat on the right-hand side.

Hearts possible starting lineup:
Gordon; Moore, Sibbick, Cochrane; Atkinson, Devlin, Haring, Mackay-Steven; Ginnelly, Boyce, McKay

Ross County possible starting lineup:
Laidlaw; Randall, Watson, Iacovitti, Vokins; Tillson, Callachan; Spittal, Paton, Charles-Cook; White


We say: Hearts 3-1 Ross County

Despite their extensive injury troubles, Hearts come into the game with plenty of momentum, and we see them picking up another win at Tynecastle.

Neilson has plenty of dangerous attackers to pick from, and the Jambos may have too much for their visitors on Saturday.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:curl



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Scottish Premiership Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Celtic22005146
2RangersRangers22004136
3Hearts21103214
4Hibernian21102114
5Aberdeen21014313
6Livingston21012203
7Motherwell21012203
8St Johnstone21012203
9Dundee UnitedDundee Utd201112-11
10Kilmarnock201113-21
11Ross County200225-30
12St Mirren200215-40
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