Motherwell v Hearts team news and line-ups: MacPhee's last match in charge? | injury hope | Does Steven Naismith play?
A preview of Hearts’ trip west to face Motherwell
Hearts travel to Fir Park on Saturday without a manager but jumped to ninth in the Ladbrokes Premiership during the week despite a draw with Livingston at Tynecastle Park.
It was a result that, despite the late equaliser from Steven MacLean, was lambasted by the home support.
Hope that a new manager would be in place for the trip to Motherwell disintegrated after interim boss Austin MacPhee revealed an appointment wouldn’t be made until next week.
There is a real sense of despondency among Hearts fans regarding the fixture with the Steelmen with little expectation or hope of anything other than a defeat.
Yet, the team can take confidence from their previous visit to Fir Park. In the Betfred Cup they put in arguably their best performance this season in winning 2-1.
Motherwell are a good team, and have an excellent record against the bottom six. Since an opening day draw at Livingston only Ross County have beaten them from the bottom six.
Motherwell team news: Manager Stephen Robinson has revealed that “four or five” of his players have had to be sent home due a virus which kept Peter Hartley out the midweek 3-0 win over St Mirren.
Probable Motherwell XI: Gillespie; Grimshaw, Mugabi, Gallagher, Carroll; Polworth, Donnelly, Campbell; Cole, Scott, Hylton.
Hearts teams news: Peter Haring, Ben Garuccio, Conor Washington and John Souttar remain out. Steven Naismith limped out of the Livingston game at half-time and is a doubt, as is Aaron Hickey who pulled out of the warm-up. Oliver Bozanic should have recovered from his illness.
Probable Hearts XI: Zlamal; Smith, Halkett, Berra, Brandon; Bozanic, Damour, Whelan; Walker, Meshino, Mulraney; Ikpeazu.
Key clash: You have the team who have taken the third-most shots in the league (Motherwell) against the team who have conceded, surprisingly, the third fewest. Yet, with the form of the visitors it will likely be a busy day for Zdenek Zlamal as he attempts to keep out the Steelmen’s variety of attacking pl
Last meeting: It was a barnstormer at Tynecastle back in September. Motherwell took a first-half lead before doubling their advantage after the interval. Hearts pulled a goal back but then trailed 3-1. Hearts hit back late on but the loss so Hearts fans turn on mass against Craig Levein. After the game there were protests outside the Main Stand.
Match details: Saturday, 7 December. Fir Park, Motherwell. Kick-off 3pm. On Friday morning the Hearts ticket office tweeted: “Morning folks, we currently have less than 70 tickets left for tomorrow's game away to Motherwell. There will also be cash gates on the day from 2pm so to arrive early if you wish to pay on the day, thanks.”
Referee: Alan Muir (15 yellow cards and 1 red card in seven Scottish Premiership games) - Muir has taken charge of Hearts’ goalless draw with Ross County and defeat to Kilmarnock this campaign. He awarded County a penalty which they subsequently missed.
Match odds: Motherwell 5/4 Draw 9/4 Hearts 11/5