Hearts v St Johnstone: Match preview and probable line-ups

Ross Callachan, left, should return while Jamie Walker will likely start in attacking midfield. Picture: SNS Group
Ross Callachan, left, should return while Jamie Walker will likely start in attacking midfield. Picture: SNS Group
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Hearts host St Johnstone tomorrow hoping to end a seven-game winless streak against the Perthshire outfit.

Craig Levein will be relieved that what looked like an injury crisis in the Hearts midfield appears to have been avoided, but he is still without some key players.

Ross Callachan and Harry Cochrane should both be included in the matchday squad with the ex-Raith Rovers midfielder shaking off a calf injury while youngster Cochrane has recovered from a foot injury.

Don Cowie is out, the 34-year-old failing to recover from the calf strain that forced him off at half-time against Ross County, but Levein is unsure if the former Scotland international will return for the derby on Tuesday night, or the visit of Rangers on Saturday.

Hearts are also without the services of Aaron Hughes, Arnaud Djoum and Ashley Smith-Brown, while Malaury Martin is rated doubtful.

Connor Randall is missing through suspension after being sent off in the 2-1 win over County.

St Johnstone boss Tommy Wright will have to shuffle his pack at the back with two defenders suspended for the trip to Edinburgh.

Richard Foster is missing as he serves the second game of a two-match suspension while Steven Anderson was sent off in the defeat to Rangers last Friday and misses out.

Wright should be able to welcome back Brian Easton, who was struggling with a knock, while Blair Alston could make the squad after continuing his comeback from injury midweek with the Under-20s.

But perhaps the biggest boost for Wright is the return of Michael O’Halloran, who was ineligible for the match against Rangers. He is almost certain to reclaim his starting berth from Graham Cummins.

Last five meetings: St Johnstone 1-0 Hearts; st Johnstone 1-0 Hearts; Hearts 2-2 St Johnstone; St Johnstone 1-0 Hearts’ St Johnstone 3-2 Hearts.

Likely Hearts team: (4-2-3-1): McLaughlin; M Smith, Souttar, Berra, Grzelak; Buaben, Callachan; Henderson, Walker, Goncalves; Lafferty. Subs from: Hamilton, Nowak, Milinkovic, Stockton, Currie, Brandon, Moore, Beith.

Likely St Johnstone team (4-4-2): Mannus; Comrie, Shaughnessy, Easton, Tanser; Scougall, Davidson, Paton, Craig; MacLean, O’Halloran. Subs from: Clark, Gilchrist, Wotherspoon, Alston, Millar, McClean, Thomson, Cummings, Hendry, Johnstone.

Referee: Nick Walsh

Kick-off: 3pm

Odds: Heart 10/11 Draw 5/2 5/2 St Johnstone 7/2 (Odds correct at the time of writing)

For more statistics, visit our dedicated Hearts page