Arbroath v Hearts: Team news, starting XI, match odds, how to watch live
Hearts make the trip north on Saturday to take on Arbroath in their latest Championship fixture.
It is the start of a busy week for the league leaders with a visit to Brora Rangers in the Scottish Cup on Tuesday before Queen of the South come to Tynecastle on Saturday.
It is no longer straight forward predicting when Hearts could have secured the Championship title.
Second place Dunfermline Athletic are 15 points behind but have two games in hand, while fixtures will be disrupted the further the team progress in the Scottish Cup.
The trip to East End Park scheduled for April 3 would have to be moved if Hearts defeat Brora with the third round clash with Stranraer pencilled in for that date.
It means Robbie Neilson’s men can just focus on stretching their winning streak to three at Gayfield.
Arbroath had improved since the turn of the year and appeared to have pulled themselves away from the bottom and into play-off contention. But such is the nature of the Championship below Hearts it is constantly changing.
Consecutive defeats has seen the Smokies drop to ninth, four points off the bottom and six points behind the final play-off spot.
Team news: Steven Naismith is unlikely to be fit in time for Saturday’s clash. He was due to return to training following a calf injury which he sustained in February, coming off around the hour mark of the 1-1 draw with Inverness CT, but he was unable to do so. Josh Ginnelly, John Souttar and Jamie Brandon are long-term absentees.
Possible XI: Gordon; Smith, Popescu, Halkett, Kingsley; Irving, Halliday, McEneff, Walker; Boyce, Gnanduillet.
What the manager said: “We've got seven games to go and we're expected to win seven games. That's what we need to do. If we do that, we get the title. Even if we do get over the line earlier, we will still be expected to win the games. It's just about winning week in and week out.”
Match details: Saturday, 20 March. Kick-off 3pm, Gayfield Stadium, Arbroath.
How to watch: The match will be streamed live by Arbroath at a cost of £12 to Hearts fans with the game available until Sunday evening. The match can be bought via the Arbroath website. Supporters are encouraged to have bought their stream prior to 1.30pm and to log in before Saturday if new to Arbroath FC TV. A how to guide can be found here.
Last meeting: Hearts ran out 3-1 winners at Tynecastle Park at the end of December. Steven Naimsith grabbed the headlines with a six-minute first-half hat-trick. Kris Doolan scored a consolation for the Smokies.
Key stat: This will be a meeting between the two oldest sides in the league on average. Hearts' average age this campaign has been 29 and Arbraoth's 28.7.
Referee: Euan Anderson – It will be the official's third game in charge of Hearts. He was in charge of the Betfred Cup win over East Fife and the 4-0 victory at Raith Rovers earlier this year. In the latter game he sent off Regan Hendry.
Match odds: Arbroath 11 / 2 Draw 14/5 Hearts 8/15