Dunfermline Athletic v Hearts: Team news, starting XI, match odds, how to watch live

Hearts make the short trip across the Forth on Saturday to face Dunfermline Athletic in the Scottish Championship.

Thursday, 1st April 2021, 4:44 pm
Hearts face Dunfermline in Fife on Saturday knowing a win takes them even closer to the league title. Picture: SNS

The league leaders will be required to get back to winning ways after recent defeats to Brora Rangers and Queen of the South.

Three points will mean Hearts will need to just beat Alloa Athletic in front of the BBC cameras next Friday to secure the Championship title.

Dunfermline come into the match on a low ebb after losing 3-2 to Dundee last weekend before being thumped by Raith Rovers 5-1 during the week.

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Team news: Robbie Neilson could welcome back Steven Naismith after the club captain returned to training this week. He has missed the last five matches due to a calf injury but could be in contention for a spot against the Pars. John Souttar is another edging closer to a return but Saturday will likely come too soon. Josh Ginnelly and Jamie Brandon remain out as does Stephen Kingsley. New signing Shay Logan could be handed his debut, while Craig Gordon and Michael Smith are available again.

Possible XI: Gordon; Logan, Smith, Halkett, Halliday; McEneff, Irving; Henderson, Boyce, Walker; Gnanduillet.

What Neilson said: “It’s crazy that we’re talking about confidence in the group when we’re 13 points clear with five games to go. If you had offered us that at the start of the season, we’d have bitten your hand off.

“We’ve had a wee blip, the last five days have been really difficult for everyone. It’s a case of sticking together and making sure we get over the line.

“We said at the start of the season that we had to turn round a big ship that’s struggled for the last two-and-a-half to three years. There will be blips on the road.”

Match details: Saturday, April 3. Kick-off 3pm, East End Park, Dunfermline.

How to watch: Hearts fans can watch the game for £12 via Pars TV and must first register via the PPV section at www.parstv.co.uk. Supporters are encouraged to purchase the match as early as possible and must do so by 2.45pm. Coverage will start at 2pm and will feature an exclusive interview with former Jambo Danny Grainger.

Last meeting: Hearts avenged their 2-1 loss in the league at East End Park in November by winning with a slender 1-0 Tynecastle Park victory at the end of January. Jamie Walker was the hero, coming off the bench to secure the three points in the final 10 minutes. The Heart forward spun brilliantly away from Euan Murray before firing low across Owain Fon Williams and into the bottom corner.

Key stat: After picking up 27 points from a possible 33 in their first 11 matches, Hearts have picked up 18 points from 33 in their past 11 matches. It works out that the points per game ratio has dropped from 2.46 to 1.64. Meanwhile, following their 5-1 thrashing at the hands of rivals Raith Rovers, Dunfermline have won just four of their past 16 league games since defeating Hearts back in November.

Referee: Colin Steven – This will be the official's third Hearts match of the season. He was in charge of the win over Ayr United recently where he had a good game.

Odds: Dunfermline 13/5 Draw 5/2 Hearts Evens

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