Hamilton v Hearts: Match preview and probable line-ups

Hearts travel to Lanarkshire hoping to build on Sunday's Scottish Cup victory over Hibs that also brought an end to a nine-game winless run against their city rivals.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 24th January 2018, 2:19 pm
Updated Friday, 26th January 2018, 3:19 pm
Steven Naismith, Demetri Mitchell and Christophe Berra are put through their paces at the Oriam. Picture: SNS Group
Steven Naismith, Demetri Mitchell and Christophe Berra are put through their paces at the Oriam. Picture: SNS Group

Craig Levein is still without Kyle Lafferty through suspension, but doesn’t have too many new concerns.

Isma Goncalves is a doubt after the forward picked up a knock in the derby win but Levein is likely to restore Don Cowie to the starting line-up and shuffle his formation.

Levein is wary of overplaying his younger charges - namely Harry Cochrane - and told the Evening News that ‘in an ideal world’ he would use Steven Naismith from the bench, the forward having played his first game for a while on Sunday.

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There are concerns over Arnaud Djoum’s fitness, while Aaron Hughes could also be rested, with Levein saying he would ‘have to think about’ the duo ahead of the match.

Demetri Mitchell is likely to see action and could start at New Douglas Park.

Levein added: “I’m thinking I’m going to have to play people who aren’t 100 per cent. We’re toiling a bit for bodies, particularly in midfield.

“Demetri Mitchell has just played only his second-ever proper match and he’s going find himself on the field again at Hamilton. If I had the luxury, I’d definitely consider whether or not to play him,” Levein admitted.

Long-term absentees Rory Currie, Ashley Smith-Brown and Malauray Martin miss out while Prince Buaben is likely to join Isma on the sidelines.

Hamilton have Ioannis Skondras unavailable through suspension, while Michael Devlin misses out and Ali Crawford is touch-and-go.

Martin Canning has a full squad to choose from otherwise with new signing Chrysovalantis Kozoronis likely to be named among the substitutes.

Last five meetings: Hearts 1-1 Hamilton, Hamilton 1-2 Hearts, Hearts 4-0 Hamilton, Hamilton 3-3 Hearts, Hearts 3-1 Hamilton.

Likely Hamilton team: (3-1-4-2): Woods; Gogic, Tomas, McMann; Donati; Lyon, MacKinnon, Docherty, Imrie; Templeton; Bingham. Subs from: Jamieson, Fulton, Want, Gillespie, Cunningham, Ferguson, Crawford, Redmond, Rojano,

Likely Hearts team (3-4-3): McLaughlin; Souttar, Hughes, Berra; Randall, Cowie, Cochrane, Mitchell; Djoum, Naismith, Milinkovic. Subs from: Hamilton, Brandon, Nowak, Baur, Henderson, Callachan, Moore, McDonald, Keena, Zanatta.

Referee: Nick Walsh

Kick-off: 7.45pm

Odds: Hamilton 5/2 Draw 12/5 Hearts 6/5 (Odds correct at the time of writing)