Hearts v Kilmarnock: Match preview and probable line-ups

Hearts train at Tynecastle ahead of the match with Kilmarnock. Picture: SNS Group
Hearts train at Tynecastle ahead of the match with Kilmarnock. Picture: SNS Group
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Hearts host Kilmarnock tonight knowing a victory for Steve Clarke’s side would see the teams swap places in the Ladbrokes Premiership.

Killie have lost just two away league matches all season, and are on an unbeaten run of five matches - including four victories.

However, Hearts’ last “home” defeat was to Kilmarnock at Murrayfield, back in early November, when a late Adam Frizzell goal handed the visitors victory.

At the weekend, Hearts went down 2-0 to Rangers at Ibrox while Killie roared back from 2-0 down at half time to grab a draw against Hibs - which could have been three points if it hadn’t been for some inspired goalkeeping by Ofir Marciano.

Craig Levein’s side is boosted by the return of David Milinkovic, who was rested for the trip to Govan, while Steven Naismith - a second half sub against Graeme Murty’s side - is fit enough to start this evening.

Don Cowie, who was also rested at the weekend, is likely to start on the right of a four-man midfield this evening whiel Danny Amankwaa is also likely to make the matchday squad.

Levein told the Evening News: “I left Don and David out [against Rangers] because they’ve done a power of running recently but they’ll be back in [tonight].

“We’ve got three massive games coming up so I’ll be making use of the fresh legs in all of these games.”

Levein is without long-term absentees Rory Currie, Arnaud Djoum and Jamie Brandon.

Clarke on the other hand has a full squad to choose from barring veteran defender Gordon Greer, who is out with a calf injury. The former West Brom boss is likely to stick with the same starting XI that lined up against Hibs.

Clarke told Killie’s website: “Hearts are very strong team, who don’t give much away.

“They’ve had a good home record since going back to Tynecastle and it will be a tough game.

“They are a physical team with a sprinkling of good players and they’ll cause us problems but hopefully we have players who’ll cause them problems as well.

“We go there with no fear, we go there with confidence and we’ll work hard to get another three points on the board.”

Last five meetings: Hearts 1-2 Kilmarnock; Kilmarnock 0-1 Hearts; Kilmarnock 0-0 Hearts; Hearts 4-0 Kilmarnock; Kilmarnock 2-0 Hearts

Likely Hearts team (4-4-2): McLaughlin; Smith, Souttar, Berra, Mitchell; Cowie, Adao, Cochrane, Milinkovic; Lafferty, Naismith. Subs from: Hamilton, Hughes, Randall, Godinho, Buaben, Henderson, Amankwaa, Callachan, McDonald, Moore.

Likely Kilmarnock team (4-2-3-1): MacDonald; O’Donnell, Broadfoot, Findlay, Taylor; Power, Dicker; McKenzie, Mulumbu, Jones; K Boyd. Subs from: Fasan, S Boyd, Wilson, Frizzell, Smith, Simpson, Waters, Wilson, Tshibola, Kiltie, Erwin.

Referee: Don Robertson

Kick-off: 7.45pm

Odds: Hearts 133/30 Draw 9/4 Kilmarnock 12/5 (Odds correct at the time of writing)

For more statistics, visit our dedicated Hearts page