St Johnstone v Hearts team news and probable line-ups: Will Naismith and Walker start? | Terrible record in Perth | Whelan a doubt

A look ahead to Wednesday's fixture between St Johnstone and Hearts in Perth.

By Joel Sked
Tuesday, 29th October 2019, 11:38 am
Updated Tuesday, 29th October 2019, 1:50 pm

Hearts go in search of a confidence-boosting win at McDiarmid Park on Wednesday (kick-off 7.45pm) against St Johnstone.

Craig Levein's men have failed to win in their last four fixtures, leaving them ninth in the table, a point ahead of their opponents who prop up the table.

It is a big week for the Tynecastle club as they travel to face Rangers in the Betfred Cup semi final on Sunday.

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Hearts travel to Perth to meet St Johnstone. Picture: SNS

Hearts missed a great chance to secure a win at Livingston on Saturday, failing to take advantage of playing against ten men for around 40 minutes.

St Johnstone on the other hand grabbed their first league victory at the weekend with a late win over Hamilton Accies.

McDiarmid Park is not a happy hunting ground for Hearts with the Gorgie side winning just once in 14 league visits to Perth since 2002. In brighter news, Craig Levein has only lost once to St Johnstone as Hearts manager and that arrived in 2002.

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Hearts teams news: Hearts could be buoyed by the return of four first-team players to the starting line-up. Jamie Walker, Steven Naismith, Aidy White and Loic Damour may all be involved. Walker and Naismith have stepped up their recovery with Levein confirming that they are close but need to complete a full day's training. White missed the Livi draw with concussion, while Damour was on the bench. Peter Haring still misses out, as do long-term absentees Conor Washington, John Souttar, Craig Halkett and Ben Garuccio. Glenn Whelan is unlikely to be risked due to a tight hamstring.

Probable Hearts XI: Periera; Hickey, Smith, Berra, White; Bozanic, Damour; Morrison, Meshino, Clare; Ikpeazu.

St Johnstone team news: Tommy Wright has nearly a full team to choose from. The big miss, however, is former Hearts defender Liam Gordon who is out with injury.

Probable St Johnstone XI: Clark; Ralston, Duffy, Kerr, Tanser; Davidson, McCann; Wright, Kennedy, Wotherspoon; May.

Key clash: In Jason Kerr St Johnstone have one of the best young centre-backs in the country. However, the 22-year-old has had a tough season so far. He has been unsure throughout which has led to indecision and poor positioning. He will be tested by Uche Ikpeazu. The Englishman is not the most composed in front of goal but is vital to Hearts especially with so many other key players out injured.

Last meeting: You have to go all the way back to January since the side's last met. Hearts prevailed 2-0 at Tynecastle in front of nearly 17,000 fans. Former player Marcus Godinho opened the scoring after a lovely assist from John Souttar and Callumn Morrison sealed the win in stoppage time.

Match details: Wednesday, 30th October. McDiarmid Park, Perth. Kick-off 7.45pm. Hearts have confirmed a cash gate will be in operation at the North Stand.

Referee: David Munro (12 yellow cards, 1 red card in the league) - Munro will take charge of his fourth Ladbrokes Premiership fixture this campaign. He officiated Hearts' draw with East Fife in the Betfred Cup.

Match odds: St Johnstone 33/20 Draw 21/10 Hearts 7/4