St Johnstone v Hearts: Journalists' predictions for Premiership clash in Perth

Six of our journalists make their predictions for Wednesday's match at McDiarmid Park ...

Wednesday, 5th December 2018, 12:46 pm
Updated Wednesday, 5th December 2018, 12:50 pm
Hearts defeated St Johnstone they last time they teams met. Pic: SNS

Anthony Brown: Hearts haven’t scored in their last five league visits to McDiarmid Park and haven’t beaten St Johnstone in Perth in any competition in their last ten attempts. Add those stats to the recent form of both teams and it is hard to make any kind of case for the faltering Tynecastle side, currently bereft of attacking spark, coming away victorious from the Fair City this evening. Christophe Berra’s presence should help the visitors keep it tight at the back, but St Johnstone are playing well enough to fancy their chances of finding a way through. Prediction: St Johnstone win.

Craig Fowler: Hearts have a terrible record at McDiarmid Park in recent years and it's unlikely to get any better this evening. The loss of both Uche Ikpeazu and Steven Naismith has had a 'house-of-cards' effect on the Edinburgh side this season and it's hard to see where the next win is coming from - or even a goal scored by a Hearts player - until one of them return. St Johnstone, meanwhile, are in terrific form and have a couple of ex-Jambos in Tony Watt and Danny Swanson who are capable of hurting them. 1-0 Saints.

Joel Sked: For 20 minutes on Sunday against Rangers it looked like the early season Hearts had returned, only for the team to revert to the one which has struggled over the past month or so. It doesn't get much easier with a trip to McDiarmid Park - since 2009 Hearts have made 15 trips to Perth but only won once in 90 minutes. It will likely be a low scoring game with no Hearts player finding the back of the net in the last six outings, while the Saints have kept six successive clean sheets. This season under Tommy Wright St Johnstone have had a bit more cutting edge, even if they have lost Drey Wright. 1-0 St Johnstone.

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Patrick McPartlin: McDiarmid Park is never an easy place to go, as evidenced by the last three visiting teams failing to find the net. Hearts haven't won in Perth on league duty since November 2010 and Tommy Wright's side are on an impressive run. I don't think, given their depleted squad, that the Jambos have enough to beat a stubborn St Johnstone side on their own patch but I've a feeling Craig Levein's side will avoid defeat. Prediction: Draw.

Mark Atkinson: Hearts' recent record at McDiarmid Park is wretched. The last time they won there on league duty, the goals came from Ryan Stevenson and Kevin Kyle. What the Jambos would do for forwards of that ilk in this fixture considering their injury list in attack. It's hard to envisage them breaking down a confident Saints defence that has kept six clean sheets on the spin without Steven Naimsith and Uche Ikpeazu. Add in to the mix that captain and best defender Christophe Berra may be rested and I just can't see Craig Levein's men leaving Perthshire with any points. I actually thought Hearts played some decent stuff at times against Rangers and it won't be long before they win again, but I'd be surprised if it was here.

Neil McGlade: All the talk since Sunday’s 2-1 defeat to Rangers has been fixated on Craig Levein’s scathing criticism of the match officials. Hearts will be keen to do their talking on the park when they visit Perth tonight to take on St Johnstone. Although the Jambos didn’t get a positive result on Sunday, there were signs, particularly in the first 20 minutes, that some of their performances from earlier on in the season might just be about to make a long overdue return. Having captain Christophe Berra back in the fold can also not be overlooked. Saints are a tough nut to crack on their home patch so Hearts will do well to pick up all three points. Score draw.