Our online team give their predictions ahead of Saturday’s encounter between Hamilton and Hearts at the Hope CBD Stadium
Buoyed by two unspectacular yet vital wins over Dundee and Partick, I expect Hearts to have enough in the tank to beat an Accies side that (a) doesn’t match the Jambos for quality and (b) tends to reserve its best results for the road. Hamilton’s weak point is the centre of defence and the runaway HGV that is Uche Ikpeazu is unlikely to be halted by Matt Kilgallon and Delphin Tshiembe. Hearts won 4-1 at the Hope CBD Stadium on the first day of the season. I can’t see Craig Levein’s men scoring four times again, but they’ll get the job done. Prediction: Hearts win
With Uche Ikpeazu having returned to the goal trail and Sean Clare buoyed by match-winning goals in his last two games, Hearts’ main threats will be confident of notching against an Accies side who have been conceding at a regular rate. The visitors should make their general superiority count at a ground where they have won on their last three visits. Prediction: Hearts win
Hamilton have been wildly inconsistent under Brian Rice. They were excellent in the wins against St Johnstone and Aberdeen, but were cut open with ridiculous ease against Rangers and in the first half last week at Motherwell. If they’re on their game this will be a very difficult game for a Hearts side who’ve won their last two but performed in neither game. Prediction: Hamilton win.
Now that Hearts have a Scottish Cup semi-final to look forward to next month, their immediate focus is putting pressure on third-placed Aberdeen. The Dons are currently four points better off than Craig Levein’s men - with Kilmarnock sandwiched in between - so victory at the Hope CBD Stadium, a venue they won so convincingly at on the opening day of the season, will stand them in good stead for the run-in. I haven’t see much improvement with Accies since Brian Rice took charge so this one has away victory written all over it. Prediction: Hearts win.
Hearts will have received a boost from seeing off Partick Thistle after an early scare on Tuesday night to reach the last four of the Scottish Cup. It’s true there have been rumblings about the style of play but at this stage, getting results is the main thing. Accies have undoubtedly improved under Brian Rice - although they do have a tendency to be somewhat unpredictable - but I’m not convinced they have enough in their locker to properly hurt Hearts. It may not be emphaatic but I still reckon Craig Levein’s side will leave the Hope CBD Stadium with the points. Prediction: Hearts win
This is a game which provokes a shrug because of its difficulty to predict. Hearts come into it buoyed by a scrappy away win at Dens Park and then reaching the Scottish Cup semi-final after a wet, windy and tense evening at Tynecastle against Partick Thistle during the week. The standard of performance is still lacking but these were crucial wins to build confidence. As for Hamilton they are swing from one end of the spectrum to another. Under Brian Rice they have defeated St Johnstone and put in an excellent display at Pittodrie to deservedly beat Aberdeen. On the other hand, they’ve been torn apart by both Rangers and Motherwell. It’ll unlikely be such a scrap for Hearts as it has been at times over the last few seasons and with the chance to possibly close the gap to Kilmarnock and Aberdeen above them Craig Levein’s men should sneak their third win in a week. Prediction: Hearts win.