Hearts v Rangers: Journalists' predictions for Sunday's Ladbrokes Premiership clash
We asked six of our sports journalists for their thoughts and predictions for tomorrow's Hearts v Rangers clash. Here's what they had to say ...
The obvious problem for Hearts is where the goals are going to come from. Their drought will end at some point soon and often it happens in high-octane fixtures. Rangers’ away form is dicey and they come into this on the back of an energy-sapping Europa League run. I always fancy Hearts at home in bigger games to raise their level and I think they’ll take a point from Steven Gerrard’s side. Having Christophe Berra back will be a huge boost too. Prediction: Draw
Hearts have rarely fallen flat in big matches at Tynecastle under Craig Levein over the past year and, even allowing for their injury problems and recent form dip, they can be expected to rise to the occasion once more on Sunday. A high-tempo start could make life difficult for a Rangers side who put plenty into their Europa League draw with Villarreal on Thursday. Although the Ibrox side have been in excellent form lately, few teams leave Gorgie victorious these days. If Hearts get their tails up early and get the crowd onside, they will have a good chance of extending their unbeaten run over Rangers at Tynecastle to five matches. Prediction: Home win
Rangers will have a few first-team stars a little fatigued after their gruelling Europa League encounter with Villarreal on Thursday and Steven Gerrard will likely call on a few reserves to keep his side fresh. In front of a raucous Hearts crowd, the hosts could take advantage of this and jump on their opponents early. However, with the visitors in good form domestically and Hearts noted struggles, it’s still tough to pick a victory for the hosts. Prediction: Away win with both teams to score
Hearts will be desperate to get back on track following a disappointing November. Christophe Berra’s inclusion in the squad for the visit of Rangers will be a huge boost for Craig Levein’s men.
Whether or not he plays remains to be seen. Rangers, on the other hand, will be feeling the effects of a gruelling 90 minutes against Villarreal on Thursday night. Prediction: Score draw
The return of Christophe Berra will be a shot in the arm for Hearts, and Rangers have struggled on the road at times this season without a visit to the cauldron that is Tynecastle. However, it’s hard to see where goals are going to come from for Craig Levein’s side, even without considering the presence of the in-form Allan McGregor between the sticks for the Light Blues. Despite their Europa League involvement on Thursday night, I still think Rangers will have enough in the tank to grind out a win here. Prediction: Away win
After such a fine start to the season there was a real positivity among the Hearts fanbase. However, in the last month, that has slowly evaporated with off-field issues and on-field injuries. Christophe Berra’s possible presence is a huge boost but it is in attack where the team are badly struggling. Rangers come into the game after a real slog with ten men against Villarreal but they have players to be brought in to provide a freshness. Steven Gerrard’s men will just have too much for a Hearts side eagerly waiting the arrival and return of forwards. Prediction: Away win