Hearts v Kilmarnock team news and probable line-ups: Back-three again | Mounting injury list | Key Killie player to return

Hearts welcome Kilmarnock to Tynecastle Park in the Ladbrokes Premiership on Saturday looking to pick up their first home league win of the season.

By Mark Atkinson
Friday, 4th October 2019, 9:52 am
Stuart Findlay scores Kilmarnock's winner against Hearts in May earlier this year. Pic: SNS
Stuart Findlay scores Kilmarnock's winner against Hearts in May earlier this year. Pic: SNS

Despite a derby triumph over Hibs at Easter Road last month and making the semi-finals of the Betfred Cup, Craig Levein's men have struggled for victories in Gorgie, drawing with Ross County and Hamilton and losing to Motherwell.

Hearts currently sit ninth in the Premiership on six points, two positions and two points behind Kilmarnock, who have only scored five goals in the league this season and have only three points to their name on the road - a 1-0 win away at St Johnstone.

Hearts team news: Manager Craig Levein still has a number of long-term injuries to deal with. Defender Craig Halkett may not play again this year after damaging his knee against St Mirren last weekend, while fellow centre-half John Souttar is still sidelined by an ankle problem. Peter Haring continues his rehabilitation from a groin/pelvic issue, with the midfielder expected back in a month's time, but left-back Ben Garuccio is still out until 2020 with a serious knee injury. French midfielder Loic Damour is touch and go for the match due to a hamstring complaint, but Jamie Walker (knee), Craig Wighton (knee) and Conor Washington (hamstring) will definitely not play. Veteran forward Steven Naismith also remains out with a knee issue, but is hoping to return for the match against Rangers on October 20.

Sign up to our Hearts newsletter

Probable Hearts team (3-4-2-1): Pereira; Hickey, Smith, Berra; Morrison, Whelan, Irving, Mulraney; Clare, Meshino; Ikpeazu.

Kilmarnock team news: Angelo Alessio's men travel east with a near-full compliment of players to choose from. Main striker Eamonn Brophy is expected to recover from injury after missing last weekend's 0-0 draw with Ross County.

Probable Kilmarnock team (4-5-1): Branescu; O'Donnell, Bruce, Findlay, Hamalainen; Millar, Dicker, El Makrini, Power, McKenzie; Brophy.

Key clash: Hearts striker Uche Ikpeazu is starting to hit the same form that made him a cult hero last season. He will lead the home side's line in the absence of Steven Naismith and Conor Washington and it will fall on the shoulders of Kilmarnock centre-half Stuart Findlay, a recent addition to the Scotland squad, to keep him in check.

Last meeting: Kilmarnock defeated Hearts 1-0 at Tynecastle on May 4 thanks to an 86th-minute strike by Stuart Findlay.

Match details: Saturday, October 5. Tynecastle Park, Edinburgh. Kick-off 3pm. Tickets available via the Hearts official website.

Referee: Alan Muir (23 yellow cards, one red card in eight games this season). He last refereed Hearts in the 0-0 draw with Ross County on Saturday, August 10.

Match odds: Hearts 11/8, Draw 12/5, Kilmarnock 9/5