Hearts v St Johnstone: Match preview and probable line-ups
Hearts host St Johnstone for the second time in a week as Tommy Wright's men return to the Capital on cup duty.
David Milinkovic’s 46th-minute goal for Hearts was the difference last weekend and Craig Levein would gladly take a similar scoreline in tomorrow’s match.
The Hearts boss has a full squad to pick from barring Harry Cochrane and Rory Currie, who are out with a neck and knee injury respectively.
Prince Buaben, Ross Callachan and Arnaud Djoum all have slight knocks while Danny Amankwaa and Joaquim Adao are still not at full fitness but the quintet are in the squad for Saturday. Levein will monitor their fitness ahead of kick-off.
St Johnstone on the other hand are without Stefan Scougall (ankle), Callum Hendry and Brian Easton (both knee) and David McMillan, so Manchester United loanee Matty Willock could start again for the Perthshire side, while David Wotherspoon - sent off after picking up two yellow cards last week - is free to play but could start on the bench depending on the system Wright opts for.
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Levein is likely to opt for the 3-4-3 formation that has served him well in recent games, with Aaron Hughes, John Souttar and Christophe Berra lining up in front of Jon McLaughlin in goal.
His likely midfield quartet will be Connor Randall on the right, Arnaud Djoum and Joaquim Adao in the middle, with Demetri Mitchell on the left, leaving Steven Naismith, Kyle Lafferty and Milinkovic as the three forwards.
Danny Amankwaa impressed in Hearts Under-20s’ win over Partick Thistle midweek, and will surely play some part in this match.
The Saints lined up last week in a 3-5-2 formation with Ricky Foster and Scott Tanser as the two wingbacks but Wright could revert to a flat 4-4-2 for this match with Jason Kerr dropping out.
Alan Mannus should continue in goal with a back four of Foster, Joe Shaughnessy, Steven Anderson and Tanser; Blair Alston, Willock, Murray Davidson and Liam Craig in the midfield, with Steven MacLean partering Chris Kane up front.
Loan signing George Williams is still working his way up to match fitness and will likely miss out again.
Last five meetings: Hearts 1-0 St Johnstone; St Johnstone 0-0 Hearts; Hearts 1-0 St Johnstone; St Johnstone 1-0 Hearts; St Johnstone 1-0 Hearts
Likely Hearts team (3-4-3): McLaughlin; Hughes, Souttar, Berra; Randall, Djoum, Adao, Mitchell; Naismith, Milinkovic; Lafferty. Subs from: Hamilton, Smith, Brandon, Buaben, Cowie, Henderson, Martin, McDonald, Amankwaa, Moore,
Likely St Johnstone team (4-4-2): Mannus; Foster, Shaughnessy, Anderson, Tanser; Alston, Willock, Davidson, Craig; Kane, MacLean. Subs from: Clark, Comrie, Gordon, Kerr, Wotherspoon, McClean, Millar, Thomson, Johnstone, McCann, Hurst
Referee: Kevin Clancy
Odds: Hearts 17/20 Draw 12/5 St Johnstone 43/10 (Odds correct at the time of writing)
• An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Malaury Martin was out injured with a groin strain. Martin is fully fit and has been training, and the article has been updated to reflect this