‘Visitors should be favourites’: Journalists’ predictions for Hearts v Aberdeen

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Hearts are looking to gain some momentum ahead of a season-defining couple of weeks as Derek McInnes and Aberdeen come to town on Saturday. Our online team predicts whether they’ll be able to get off to a good start by claiming all three points.

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Arnaud Djoum scored the opener the last time the teams met at Tynecastle. Picture: SNS

Arnaud Djoum scored the opener the last time the teams met at Tynecastle. Picture: SNS

Anthony Brown: Basic logic such as recent form and league position would suggest Aberdeen should be capable of leaving Tynecastle undefeated. However, Hearts have regularly shown in recent times an ability to rouse themselves for a visit of the Dons. If the bulk of the Edinburgh side’s core players - John Souttar, Christophe Berra, Peter Haring, Arnaud Djoum and Uche Ikpeazu - can bring out their best form, they will have every chance of making it three home wins on the spin against Derek McInnes’ team. Hearts win

Patrick McPartlin: Aberdeen have been a bit Jekyll and Hyde this season in terms of home and away games, and are on a nine-game unbeaten run on the road. Hearts were rocked by another serious injury blow earlier this week, while Craig Levein is still trying to identify an effective strikeforce in Steven Naismith’s absence. Despite Aberdeen’s away record, they do seem to struggle at Tynecastle and have won just once in their last four visits, losing 2-0 in April last year, and 2-1 earlier this season. Prediction: Draw

Craig Fowler: The visitors should be considered favourites for this one. Not only are they in better form than their hosts, they’ve been excellent away from home - the last match they lost outside of Aberdeen was the Betfred Cup final - and Hearts have been dealt another significant injury blow with Ben Garuccio’s ligament tear robbing Levein of any experienced left-backs in the squad. Then again, it’s typically inadvisable to back the Dons to win in Gorgie. They haven’t done it too much over the last 20 years. Even in recent times where Aberdeen have been stronger - last time Hearts finished above them in the league table was 2012 - they still hold a weaker record than their opponents at Tynecastle. Prediction: Draw.

Joel Sked: *Looks down the back of the couch for a left-back*. It would be understandable if Levein was doing similar after the news that Garuccio was ruled out for ten months. Injuries aside, it has not been a great last couple of months for Hearts in terms of consistency and level of performance. With the mammoth Scottish Cup semi-final coming up against Inverness CT the Tynecastle side could do with playing themselves into form and restoring confidence. Aberdeen presents the first challenge in a trio of difficult league matches in the coming week. The Dons haven’t been in great nick either recently but have a excellent away record. Draw.

Neil McGlade: Despite Aberdeen’s recent success in the league, Hearts tend to get the better of the Dons at Tynecastle. If the Jambos still harbour aspirations of overhauling Derek McInnes’ side in the table then this is a game they really need to win. Confidence is key going into the latter part of the season, something I think Hearts are bereft of at this moment in time. The defeat at Hamilton last time out left a lot to be desired so I expect a response. Draw

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