MATCH PREVIEW | Hearts vs Saints

THREE POINTS THE AIM IN EDINBURGH

Saints ready for first part of Hearts double header

Friday 2nd February

Tommy Wright interview: https://youtu.be/NNfhnB2NWao

Chris Kane interview: https://youtu.be/yIma3iM1yFw

Saints prepare to make the first of two trips to Tynecastle in eight days tomorrow as they face Hearts on Premiership business .

With one meeting with Craig Levein’s side at Murrayfield already under the belts this season, tomorrow brings our first experience of the refurbished Tynecastle Park ahead of the square off in the Scottish Cup on Saturday 10 Feburary.

Saints currently sit in eighth place in the Premiership standings, eight points behind Hearts in fifth but we have three league games in hand over the team from the capital and so a win on Saturday could be a huge step for climbing back into top six contention.

Hearts’ season has been rejuvenated since Craig Levein took charge in late August with the side’s twelve match unbeaten run only coming to an end on Tuesday evening with a loss to Celtic and Tommy Wright is under no illusions about the challenge that lies ahead:

“We’re expecting a tough game as you can see the difference in them since Craig took over.

“They’re more organised and players know their roles more. There’s a certain togetherness that shows that they’re playing for the manager. That’s born out of the number of clean sheets and how well they’ve done recently but as I say every week, we feel like we can go and beat anybody so that’ll be the plan - to go and win the game.”

Deadline day addition Matty Willock is in the squad but on-loan Fulham recruit George Williams misses out.

Tommy explains: “Matty goes into the squad but George misses out – he picked up a very slight knock in training just prior to signing – nothing that will prevent him training for more than a few days but we’ll not risk him.”

The manager also provided an update on how the rest of the squad is looking, including new striker David McMillan who’s debut was marked with a broken nose and a hamstring injury after being clattered into by Partick Thistle’s goalkeeper last weekend.

“David has had a scan and he’s going to be out for three weeks. It was a real sore one for him and a frustrating start for us all.

“There’s still no change with Calum Hendry - it could be up to three months with him. Eastie [Brian Easton] has had his double hernia operation and is making good progress while Zander (Clark) should do a little bit of training today and Scott Tanser should take part in full training today.

“We’ll have Richard Foster back from suspension and there were no real injury concerns from Monday night so we still have a pretty good squad to choose from.”

Fresh from his superb hat-trick against Albion Rovers on Monday, Chris Kane is confident that his loan spell at Queen of the South during the first half of the season can be a springboard for him to contribute for Saints until the end of the campaign:

“Obviously, I wanted to go out and get game time and some experience.” said Kane.

“I played the first few games but never really got the goals and game time that I was wanting but after my injury, I basically played pretty much every game after that. I started scoring goals so that gave me the confidence to come back and get games here.”

The previous away trip Saints made to the Jambos was at Murrayfield back in October when Hearts edged out a narrow 1-0 victory. A 0-0 draw followed in the return fixture just before Christmas at McDiarmid Park so Tommy and his squad will be motivated to finally get the better of the men in maroon.

Match preview by Gary Petersen

Tickets are required for entry to Tynecastle tomorrow and as Hearts don’t have a match day purchase facility, Saints will open the McDiarmid Park ticket office on Saturday morning between 10am and 11.30am for anyone making a late decision to head to the game. The tickets are also available today (Friday) until 5.30pm.

Fans should also note that tickets for the William Hill Scottish Cup tie at the same venue next weekend and the forthcoming trip to Celtic are also available to buy at the same times as above and then all next week between 9.30am and 5pm.