Hearts v Alloa: Team news, starting XI, match odds, how to watch live
Hearts face Alloa Athletic for the fourth time this season when the Wasps head to Tynecastle Park on Friday night.
Robbie Neilson’s men are currently staggering over the line when it comes to securing the Championship title and a return to the Premiership, winning just two of their last eight leagues games.
With the game chosen to be shown live on BBC Scotland there was an expectation this would be the fixture where Hearts confirm the league win. Dropped points away to Dunfermline Athletic last weekend means it can’t be done on Friday night. However, it could be secured on Saturday depending on results elsewhere.
Alloa come into the match seven points adrift at the bottom of the Championship. They have won once in their last nine.
Team news: Hearts will still be without left-back Stephen Kingsely who is still recovering from a groin injury picked up last month. Andy Halliday is expected to return after just missing out on the Dunfermline match last weekend due to a niggle. Aside from those two, Josh Ginnelly and Jamie Brandon remain out, while John Souttar isn’t expected to feature until the league is wrapped up.
Possible XI: Gordon; Logan, Smith, Halkett, White; Naismith, Halliday, Haring, Mackay-Steven; Boyce, Gnanduillet.
What Robbie Neilson said: "If you'd asked us at the start of the season if we'd be in this position with four games to go, then I'd have probably taken it because when you come into a season with the Covid issues, no fans here and everything is difficult, you just don't know what you're going to get.”
Match details: Friday, April 9. Kick-off 7.45pm, Tynecastle Park, Edinburgh.
How to watch: The game has been chosen by the BBC Scotland for live coverage. The programme starts from Tynecastle at 7.30pm with post-match analysis running until 10pm. The game is also available on Hearts TV for season ticket holders, international subscribers and Pay Per View customers with coverage from Laurie Dunsire, Robert Borthwick and Jimmy Sandison starting at 7pm.
Last meeting: Hearts ran out 3-1 winners at the Indodrill back in January. Andy Irving and Elliott Frear scored excellent first-half goals. Kevin Cawley set up a nervy finish before Josh Ginnelly ran most of the pitch on a counter-attack to seal the victory. It was met by a call of “there’s yer medicine” from the visiting bench following remarks from Wasps boss Peter Grant after the previous meeting in the Betfred Cup which Alloa won.
Key stat: No team has conceded more goals than Alloa’s 51 in the league. They have kept just one league clean sheet this campaign. Meanwhile, no one has bettered Hearts’ nine clean sheets with only 24 goals conceded, only equalled by Inverness CT. Neil Parry can expect to be bust with Hearts having taken by far the most shots (324) in the Championship.
Referee: Steven McLean – This will be the official's third time in charge of Hearts this season. On the previous two occasions the Gorgie side have won 1-0, both games being settled by penalties. Jamie Walker scored against Inverness CT in the Betfred Cup and Liam Boyce against Ayr United in the league.
Match odds: Hearts 1/7 Draw 13/2 Alloa 14/1