Hearts v Partick Thistle: Match preview and probable line-ups

Arnaud Djoum, inset, will be hoping to make his return to action in front of a packed new main stand at Tynecastle. Pictures: SNS Group/Neil Hanna
Arnaud Djoum, inset, will be hoping to make his return to action in front of a packed new main stand at Tynecastle. Pictures: SNS Group/Neil Hanna
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Hearts welcome Partick Thistle to Gorgie on 19 November when the Jambos plan to open their new £12 million main stand.

It’s been touch-and-go in recent days and at the time of writing, we are still unsure if the match will get the go-ahead.

Hearts go into this game hoping to end a run of three straight defeats to Hibs, Rangers and Kilmarnock while Partick haven’t won on the road on league duty since a 1-0 win over Dundee in March.

The last time Hearts defeated Partick Thistle at Tynecastle, in March 2016, Arnaud Djoum was the scorer of the only goal after 25 minutes. Coincidentally, Djoum should make a timely return to the Hearts starting line-up for the visit of the Jags.

Since then the teams have played out three draws (two at Firhill and one at Tynecastle) and a victory apiece; Partick winning 2-0 in Maryhill in February 2017 in a match that saw Esmael Goncalves sent off, and Hearts securing a 2-1 victory on the road in August 2016, Tony Watt popping up with a last-minute winner.

Don Cowie, who should also start for Hearts after coming through the 90 minutes against Kilmarnock unscathed, is keen for both fans and players to turn Tynecastle into a fortress once more.

The return of experienced pair Djoum and Prince Buaben will help ease Hearts’ problems in midfield, where Levein has been forced to play a handful of youngsters in recent weeks.

The likes of Harry Cochrane and Euan Henderson have impressed while Danny Baur, Rory Currie, Lewis Moore and Jamie Brandon have all been given game time since Levein took over.

However, the Hearts boss is still not without his injury concerns. John Souttar is out having sustained a concussion on international duty while Jamie Walker (hamstring), Ashley Smith-Brown (pelvis) and Malaury Martin are also missing.

Partick Thistle boss Alan Archibald also has a number of players on the sidelines: Mustapha Dumbuya, Callum Booth and Stuart Bannigan are all out with knee injuries while Christie Elliott is nursing an ankle complaint. Abdul Osman is still missing with a shoulder injury.

Archibald is also without the services of striker Conor Sammon, the on-loan Hearts player not able to face his parent club.

Last five meetings: Partick Thistle 1-1 Hearts; Hearts 2-2 Partick Thistle; Partick Thistle 2-0 Hearts; Hearts 1-1 Partick Thistle; Partick Thistle 1-2 Hearts

Likely Hearts team (4-2-3-1): McLaughlin; Randall, Hughes, Berra, M Smith; Buaben, Callachan; Cowie, Djoum, Goncalves; Lafferty. Subs from: Hamilton, Noring, Brandon, Baur, Nowak, Grzelak, Beith, Cochrane, Milinkovic, Moore, Currie, Henderson, Stockton.

Likely Partick team (5-3-2): Cerny; McGinn, Keown, Devine, Turnbull, Lawless; Edwards, Barton, Spittal; Doolan, Storey. Subs from: Scully, Nitriansky, Nisbet, Woods, Fraser, Erskine, Wilson.

Referee: Andrew Dallas

Kick-off: 3pm (Sunday)

Odds: Hearts 10/11 Draw 13/5 Partick 37/10 (Odds correct at the time of writing)

For more statistics, visit our dedicated Hearts page