Hearts v Ross County: Match preview and probable line-ups

Hearts are put through their paces at the Oriam, with Sam Nicholson (third left) keeping fit with his former club during the MLS close season. Picture: SNS Group
Hearts are put through their paces at the Oriam, with Sam Nicholson (third left) keeping fit with his former club during the MLS close season. Picture: SNS Group
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Hearts welcome Ross County to Tynecastle tomorrow, hoping to do the double over the Staggies after defeating them in Dingwall earlier this season.

Coincidentally, that match on 14 October was the last time Hearts managed to score two or more goals in a game. With Esmael Goncalves having scored two goals in his last two games, he’ll be looking to make it three in three against Owen Coyle’s men. Goncalves scored the opener at Victoria Park as ten-man Hearts, who had Connor Randall sent off, spoiled Coyle’s first home match in charge.

Hearts will face the Staggies without the services of John Souttar, who complained of dizziness during training this week. The defender sustained a concussion while on international duty and won’t be risked as a precaution.

Ashley-Smith Brown remains sidelined with groin and hamstring injuries while Malaury Martin’s groin issues have ruled him out of contention as well.

However, Prince Buaben could be fit enough for a spot on the bench.

Coyle is without first-choice ‘keeper Scott Fox, with Aaron McCarey set to deputise once again. Apart from that, the former Burnley boss has a full complement of players to choose from.

New signing Chris Eagles will more than likely start on the bench after he signed a short-term deal until the end of the season on Thursday.

The Big Hearts Community Trust and fans’ forum Jambos Kickback have joined forces and are holding a foodbank collection ahead of the match, to support the Community One Stop Shop in Broomhouse. The collection point is at Gorgie Dalry Church, next to the Gorgie Stand turnstiles, from 1.30pm to 2.45pm. Online donations can also be made at hmfckickback.co.uk.

Last five meetings: Ross County 1-2 Hearts; Hearts 0-1 Ross County; Ross County 2-2 Hearts; Hearts 0-0 Ross County; Hearts 1-1 Ross County.

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

Likely Ross County team: (4-4-1-1): McCarey; Naismith, Fraser, Davies, Kelly; Gardyne, Draper, Routis, O’Brien; Keillor-Dunn; Curran. Subs from: Munro, van der Weg, Chow, Dow, Eagles, Schalk, Mikkelsen, Mckay.

Referee: John Beaton

Kick-off: 3pm

Odds: Hearts 28/29 Draw 45/17 Ross County 13/4 (Odds correct at the time of writing)

For more statistics, visit our dedicated Hearts page