Hearts return to Tynecastle this Saturday looking to secure their first win of the season against Ross County. Hearts find themselves down in eighth place after narrowly losing their first game of the season, while their opponents sit up in third following their successful opening game. The previous two meetings between these sides have both ended in draws after 90 minutes, with the first ending 0-0, followed by a 1-1 draw.
Hearts will be hoping the second game of the season will bring them better luck than they have seen in recent fixtures, which have left a lot to be desired. Over the last five fixtures, Craig Levein’s men have picked up two wins alongside three defeats. The first of the five fixtures started well, with Hearts securing a simple 2-0 win over Cowdenbeath but they were then left shocked after losing 3-2 to Cambridge United. The Scottish side picked up their second win against Stenhousemuir who they beat 2-1, but once again Hearts could not extend their winning streak after losing to East Fife on penalties. Aberdeen dealt them their opening loss of the season, beating them 3-2 at Pittodrie.
Roy MacGregor will be pleased with his side’s recent form and will be filled with confidence ahead of their fixture against Hearts. Ross County remain unbeaten in their last four fixtures, which they have secured four wins from. Their first victory came against St Johnstone, who they beat narrowly 2-1, before then picking up their second consecutive win against Forfar with a 2-0 win. Ross County’s opening game of the season threw them up against Hamilton, who stood little chance against their rampant attack and suffered a 3-0 loss.
Craig Levein is still without both Benjamin Garuccio and Peter Haring who are unavailable through injury. Following his red card against Aberdeen, Aaron Hickey will also miss out on Saturday through suspension. Steven Naismith was left out of the starting XI against Aberdeen, but after scoring from the bench we could see him thrown back in on Saturday.
After their success in the first fixture against Hamilton, we are expecting Ross County to stick with their preferred a 4-4-1-1 formation. It was a great day for Ross County’s forwards with both Ross Stewart and Billy McKay bagging themselves goals, and you can expect to see the pair in the starting lineup on Saturday.
Hearts will arrive at their home ground as clear favourites to take all three points, but we have a feeling this game will be much closer than the bookies suggest. Hearts have been priced around 1.85 to win, while their opponents sit at 4.20. Both sides were involved in games with over 2.5 goals during their last outing and we expect to see multiple goals once again, with both sides contributing.