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May 11, 2022 at 7.45pm UK at Fir Park
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Preview: Motherwell vs. Hearts - prediction, team news, lineups

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

Motherwell play host to Hearts on Wednesday evening looking for the victory which may be enough to move them into fourth position in the Scottish Premiership standings.

While opponents Hearts head into this fixture having already wrapped up third place, the Edinburgh-based side want to keep their performance levels high ahead of the Scottish Cup final later this month.

Match preview

Although Celtic and Rangers will naturally dominate the award ceremonies when this season is all said and done, there is an argument that Hearts have been just as impressive in their own right.

Consolidation in their first campaign back in the top flight would have been regarded as success, but Robbie Neilson and his squad have already delivered 61 points from their 36 league games, creating a 17-point advantage ahead of fourth spot.

Despite a 10-match unbeaten streak in all competitions coming to an end with a 4-1 defeat at Celtic, Neilson will keep that result in isolation ahead of trying to match the 65-point mark from 2015-16.

Everton loanee Ellis Simms has proven to be a key man during the second half of the season, the youngster scoring his seventh goal during the loss in Glasgow.

The first of those strikes came in one of the reverse fixtures against Motherwell, and the 21-year-old will be motivated to further enhance his reputation heading into the summer.

From Motherwell's perspective, Graham Alexander is eager to see his team finish on a high given their drop off in form since the turn of the year.

Just four wins have been recorded from 19 matches in all competitions, although one of those triumphs came at the weekend as they prevailed 1-0 at Ross County.

In the short term, Alexander has collected seven points from five games, and a second victory in succession on Wednesday would strengthen his already-strong chances of remaining at the helm for the next campaign.

Remaining just a point behind fourth-placed Dundee United, overtaking the Terrors is the aim, although the priority may be ensuring that they do not finish below Ross County in sixth.

Motherwell Scottish Premiership form:
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • W

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

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

Team News

Having taken just four minutes to score as a substitute against Ross County, Kevin van Veen will almost certainly be restored to the Motherwell XI.

Either Joseph Efford or Ross Tierney will drop out of the team, but that may prove to be the only alteration to the starting lineup given the level of opponent in front of them.

With just two league games to come before the Scottish Cup final, Neilson will be looking to find a balance between keeping his Hearts players fresh and equally match-sharp.

Gary Mackay-Steven and Ben Woodburn are both in contention for recalls, with Liam Boyce and Barry McKay potentially in line to be handed a rest.

John Souttar has been back on the substitutes' bench after two months out and could be handed a chance back in the middle of the backline for this fixture.

Motherwell possible starting lineup:
Kelly; Donnelly, Ojala, Lamie; O'Donnell, O'Hara, Goss, Carroll; Shields, Tierney, Van Veen

Hearts possible starting lineup:
Gordon; Atkinson, Souttar, Kingsley, Cochrane; Haring, Sibbick; Ginnelly, Mackay-Steven, Woodburn; Simms

We say: Motherwell 1-2 Hearts

Possessing the greater motivation to get three points on the board, Motherwell will be classed as the marginal favourites for this contest by some. However, Hearts will want to bounce back from the Celtic defeat, leading us to predict a narrow win for the visitors.

Data Analysis

Our analysis of all available data, including recent performances and player stats, suggests the most likely outcome of this match is a Hearts win with a probability of 50.75%. A win for Motherwell has a probability of 25.23% and a draw has a probability of 24%.

The most likely scoreline is Motherwell 1-1 Hearts with a probability of 11.35%. The next most likely scorelines are 0-1 (10.09%), 1-2 (9.64%), 0-2 (8.57%).

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:data

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