Hearts v Ayr United: Team news, starting XI, match odds, how to watch live
Hearts welcome Ayr United to Tynecastle Park on Saturday as the Championship league leaders look to make it back-to-back wins.
The Jam Tarts got back to winning ways last weekend with a key 2-1 win over Dundee, putting an end to a three-game winless run. Such is the nature of football, it is now viewed as a seven-game unbeaten streak.
Hearts have only eyes for the Championship title and to wrap it up as soon as possible.
They hold a 14-point advantage over second-place Raith Rovers who have the honour of playing on the Friday night this week when they host Inverness CT.
Opponents Ayr have had their struggles this campaign. Mark Kerr left he manager’s post at the end of the month and the team found themselves in the relegation play-off spot.
Four points in the last week, however, has lifted them to seventh, albeit a point ahead of ninth position.
Former Livingston and Greenock Morton manager David Hopkin has been appointed as Ayr’s new boss.
Team news: Hearts will be without Peter Haring who starts the first of a two-game ban following his red card against Dundee. Steven Naismith is touch-and-go to be fit for the fixture. The club captain missed the win over Dundee on Saturday with a calf complaint. He has been running but will be assessed on Thursday or Friday with a view to a decision on whether or not to include him in the squad. John Souttar and Jamie Brandon continue to miss out.
Possible XI: Gordon; Smith, Popescu, Halkett, Kingsley; Irving, McEneff, Halliday, Mackay-Steven; Gnanduillet, Boyce.
What the manager said: “We're seven undefeated so we're still pushing forward. I know we had a few draws. We created a number of chances on Saturday and didn't put the game to bed like we should have, so we still have a bit of work to do there. I'm pleased with where we are but it's about getting over the line – and then having a good Scottish Cup run.”
Match details: Saturday, March 13. Kick-off 3pm, Tynecastle Park, Edinburgh.
How to watch: The game, unlike the previous meeting between the sides, is not live on BBC Scotland. Season ticket holders who have not opted out of games can watch the match via HeartsFCpass.com. A Pay Per View option is available for both sets of fans from here. The game is also available for Hearts TV’s international subscribers.
Last meeting: Hearts came away from Somerset Park 1-0 winners thanks to a Liam Boyce penalty just after half-time. The visitors had to battle for the three points in tough conditions in what was a largely uneventful match. Night and day compared to the previous Tynecastle meeting when the league leaders ran out 5-3 winners.
Key stat: Hearts and Ayr United are the teams who average the most amount of touches of the ball in the opposition box with 22.95 and 17.4 respectively.
Referee: Colin Steven – It will be the official's second match in charge of Hearts this season. The previous time was the 1-1 draw with Queen of the South last month where he awarded two penalties.
Match odds: Hearts 1/3 Draw 17/4 Ayr 7/1