'Another war of attrition': Journalists predictions for Hearts v St Mirren
Our online team try their best to predict the result from Saturday's match as St Mirren visit Tynecastle.
Mark Atkinson: No getting away from the importance of this bottom-of-the-table clash, this early on in the season. Tynecastle is going to have a different feel about it, with the supporters free from the chains of Craig Levein and his often soul-destroying football. I expect there to be an element of excitement in Gorgie and the players are likely to feed off it. St Mirren have only scored three goals in the past two months, so it's clear they are struggling in the final third. They are, however, well-organised and will no doubt try to frustrate Hearts and turn the crowd. I expect this match to be cagey - but Hearts have the extra creativity over their hosts and that, allied to recent managerial developments, might just get them over the line. Prediction: Hearts 1-0 St Mirren.
Anthony Brown: St Mirren are the only non-Edinburgh side to have lost a league game against either of the two Capital clubs within the last seven months (when they lost away to Hibs on the opening day of this season). They are also the only side who currently sit beneath both Hearts and Hibs in the league. The likely addition of Steven Naismith and Jamie Walker to the starting lineup should give the hosts a chance to enjoy a rare victory. Prediction: Hearts win
Neil McGlade: It's unusual to be thinking this with just a quarter of the campaign gone but, this one definitely has a real six pointer feel to it. Both sides are underperforming, Hearts more so given their vastly superior squad. Saints are sound defensively and with Vaclav Hladky between the sticks, it may take the hosts some time to wear their opponents down. The return of Naismith and Walker is a huge plus and I think that additional creativity will prove to be the difference. Prediction: Hearts to sneak it.
Joel Sked: Can it finally happen? A Hearts home win, the first since March? Surely, against the team bottom of the table with just five league goals to their name. The team have been lacking inspiration in the final third but should be boosted by the return of both Steven Naismith and Jamie Walker, even if they were to offset the losses of Glenn Whelan and Michael Smith. It will unlikely be a classic with the Buddies a stuffy side - the previous encounter having finished 0-0. Hearts, however, should have enough. Just. Hearts win.
Craig Fowler: *Sighs* Every week we're asked to do this and every week I need to come up with some creativity way of saying 'this team may be mince but they might beat [enter opponent]'. And it's true, they might beat St Mirren. Saturday's visitors aren't exactly Barcelona, themselves. But without any hope offered in the Betfred Cup semi-final against Rangers that anything will be different in the immediate post-Levein era it's hard to think this will be anything other than another war of attrition. Naismith being back in the squad might just give them an edge, though. Prediction: A narrow Hearts win. Probably. Whatever.