Hearts v St Mirren: Match preview, possible teams, key battle

Austin MacPhee is hoping to keep Hearts' winning run going in Craig Levein's absence. Picture: SNS Group
Austin MacPhee is hoping to keep Hearts' winning run going in Craig Levein's absence. Picture: SNS Group
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Hearts welcome St Mirren to Tynecastle tomorrow, but one key man misses out, with Jambos boss Craig Levein recovering from his health scare earlier this week.

Austin MacPhee will be in temporary charge of the team in Levein’s absence as Hearts look to make it six competitive wins on the trot.

The stand-in management team have vowed to win the fixture for Levein and cement their spot at the summit of the Scottish Premiership.

There has been a glut of comings and goings at Tynecastle over the last couple of days, and new signings Craig Wighton and Demetri Mitchell could take a seat on the bench, while Arnaud Djoum is also up for consideration after completing 90 minutes of a reserve league match against Dundee. Malaury Martin and Aidan Keena have completed loan moves to Dunfermline while Bobby Burns and Ryan Edwards have signed loan deals with Livingston and St Mirren respectively, although Edwards is ineligible to face his parent club.

The Jambos are without injured captain Christophe Berra, who is sidelined for the long term with a hamstring injury, while young duo Jamie Brandon and Marcus Godinho remain out with knee injuries.

St Mirren are without goalkeeper Danny Rogers, former Hearts defender Adam Eckersley and Jordan Kirkpatrick, who are all nursing knee injuries, while Gary MacKenzie is also out long term with an Achilles problem.

Magic number

5 - the number of competitive fixtures Hearts have won on the bounce

Key battle

Michael Smith has largely flown under the radar given the performances of some of his new team mates, but the Northern Irishman’s forays forward could cause Hayden Coulson some problems on the left.

Referee

Kevin Clancy takes charge of this tie - his 26th appointment involving Hearts. So far the boys in maroon have won eight, drawn eight and lost nine.

Possible teams

Hearts: Zlamal; M Smith, Souttar, Dunne. Garuccio; Morrison, Lee, Haring, Naismith; Ikpeazu, MacLean. Subs from: Doyle, Hamilton, Hughes, Mitchell, Cochrane, Djoum, Bozanic, McDonald, Mulraney, Wighton.

St Mirren: Samson; Jones, Baird, Kpekawa; Hodson, Magennis, McGinn, Willock, Coulson; Flynn; Mullen. Subs from: Muir, King, MacPherson, Erhahon, Smith, Cooke, Brock-Madsen.

Kick-off: 3pm