‘Unlikely to be a straightforward night’ - Journalists’ predictions for Partick v Hearts
Our online team give their verdict on Monday night’s William Hill Scottish Cup quarter-final clash between Partick Thistle and Hearts at Firhill...
The nature of Hearts’ performance on Wednesday night against Celtic will have given Craig Levein and his team a shot in the arm. Play like they did then against the Jags - who have shipped seven goals in their past two Championship matches - and they will win this cup tie easily. Partick have suffered a cataclysmic fall from grace in the past 12 months and prop up the second tier of Scottish football. Gary Caldwell’s autumn arrival has not changed fortunes drastically. Even if Steven Naismith fails to make it for Hearts, they have enough firepower in the on-form Uche Ikpeazu and Sean Clare to get the win. A date at Hampden awaits Hearts. Prediction: Hearts win
Partick were on a five-game winning streak before suffering defeat in their last two matches so they have been on a better run of form than Hearts, albeit in a lower league, since mid-January. This is unlikely to be a straightforward night for Craig Levein’s team, who have struggled against some of the Premiership’s weakest teams in recent weeks. Their superior quality should see them prevail, but only just. Prediction: Hearts win
If Hearts play with the intensity they did against Celtic then they’ll win this match and do so comfortably. Unfortunately, football doesn’t work like that. You cannot just transfer the emotions of one game into another. There’s also the Naismith factor with the talismanic figure looking as if he’ll miss the game. The difference in quality between the two clubs this season would suggest this should be a walkover for the visitors, but I’ll be surprised if it’s anything other than a slog. Prediction: Draw and replay
This is an ideal tie for Hearts to rise from the slump they find themselves in. They put in a dogged performance against Celtic on Wednesday night and matched the champions for long periods, even with ten men. The Scottish Cup is slowly becoming the Hearts’ fans focus as their aspirations of a top-three finish are diminishing by the week. That said, they are still just six points off third-placed Aberdeen. But Monday night is all about progressing to the penultimate round of the cup. Partick will put up a good fight but their priority is remaining in the Championship this season. Prediction: Hearts win
If Hearts play as well as they did against Celtic, they’ll have no problem negotiating this tie at a venue despite failing to win in their last two visits. That said, even if Hearts don’t replicate their performance against Celtic, they will surely stand a good chance of progressing, going by Partick’s recent form and their ongoing fight to avoid back-to-back relegations. There are a good number of talented and experienced players in the Jags squad, and they could make it a stuffy encounter - but I still think passage into the Scottish Cup semis will be a relative formality for the Jambos. Prediction: Hearts win
Craig Levein’s men have stagnated. Just when you think they are about to put a run together they throw in a desperate performance. And then, just when you expect them to be blitzed by Celtic they deliver a promising and competitive performance. It can’t be played down, Monday night’s match is huge. Both in terms of the season and any potential pressure Levein could come under from the fans. If they approach their Championship opponents with the same attitude they did Celtic then there will be no problems at Firhill, especially with Uche Ikpeazu getting back up and running. However, fans are wary of Hearts in these types of situations. That being said, Thistle are bottom of the Championship for a reason. Prediction: Hearts to win by two.