'I fear for Stenhousemuir' - Journalists' predictions for Hearts v Stenhousemuir
The Evening News sport team give their thoughts on tonight's Betfred Cup clash at Tynecastle
I fear a little bit for Stenny here. Hearts have been creating plenty of chances in their Betfred Cup matches - they just haven't been taking them. At Tynecastle, against limited lower-league opposition, Hearts' hungry strikers could have a field day. This is the perfect opportunity for Conor Washington to open his account. Hearts are going to win this, and win this comfortably. I'll go for the hosts to win by at least three. Prediction: Hearts win
The Betfred Cup is proving to be fraught with danger for favourites this summer so nothing can be taken for granted. Stenhousemuir drew at Pittodrie in the Scottish Cup earlier this year and also made life difficult for Dundee United last week so the League Two side will fancy their chances of being competitive at Tynecastle. Hearts have started both of their matches so far at a good tempo and played some decent football. If they do so again, they should win reasonably comfortably. Prediction: Hearts 3 Stenhousemuir 0
Stenny were relegated into League Two at the end of last season and shouldn't cause many problems for a Hearts side who easily ran all over another fourth tier side in Cowdenbeath last week. The most intriguing thing about this contest will be how Craig Halkett and John Souttar combine together in the centre of defence. It's been just one game, but a number of Hearts fans already believe Halkett to be the superior option alongside the Scottish international than captain Christophe Berra. Prediction: Hearts win
It's hard to see anything other than a home victory here. Stenhousemuir will relish the opportunity of playing on the Tynecastle surface but that's about it. The Warriors will try to soak up the relentless pressure from the hosts and hit Craig Levein's men on the break. Even then I think their forays forward will be few and far between. I sense a big win here. Prediction: Comfortable Hearts victory.
As we've seen with Hibs, Hearts have hit their stride as the Betfred Cup campaign progresses, and while the competition isn't above a shock or two, I don't see one coming at Tynecastle tonight. Stenhousemuir are still licking their wounds after relegation to League Two, they haven't won a match - competitive or otherwise - since mid-April, and I seriously doubt that will change tonight. If Hearts go full pelt, a crushing victory could be on the cards but I think it's more likely that Craig Levein will shuffle his pack again - we already know there's a strong chance Christophe Berra will be rested - to give fringe players a run-out. However, I still think it will be largely routine in Gorgie this evening. Prediction: Hearts win
If Dundee United beat East Fife on Tuesday, Hearts will know they have to win their remaining two fixtures to ensure qualification. Stenhousemuir should be, on paper, a walk in the park.The Warriors were relegated to League Two but did put up a good showing against Robbie Neilson's United in the first Betfred Cup match. However, it will be about what Hearts do as Craig Levein tweaks the team again. Prediction: Comfortable Hearts win