HEARTS - KILMARNOCK
Hosts have struggled on home soil this season, putting up by far their stronger performances on the road, that was until last weekend when they finally got the monkey off their back with a 3-0 win over St Mirren at Tynecastle. That was a very professional display with the Jam Tarts coasting home after racing into a 3-0 lead, big boost to the whole club and especially hat-trick scorer Rudi Skacel. They have had a free week to prepare for this, with no cup distraction in midweek and also to bask in the glow of that win, which will have done wonders for their confidence. They also have a massive incentive to follow up today, as Motherwell's surprise slip up yesterday means that three points this afternoon will take Hearts up to third place in the SPL. That win over Saints was their second consecutive victory and cleansheet, in addition to which, in their previous outing they had led Glasgow Rangers for well over an hour before conceding two late goals, the second coming in the 94th minute, so they are clearly in great shape.
Killie are now five games without a win and have conceded two goals or more in each of those and are bound to be a little drained after the latest of those,a 2-0 home loss to Rangers in the cup in midweek. They were facing a youthful Gers side and had plenty of chances of their own, but did an awful lot of chasing in what was ultimately a fruitless ( no good verses jam tarts) cause and that is bound to have left it's mark, either physicallyand/ or mentally, it is easy to believe that everything is against you after a while and the Rangers goal certainly seemed to have an invisible shield protecting it.
Hearts have a very solid look about them now, keeper Marian Kello and newly returned captain Marius Zaliukas are two very big rocks around which the defence is built, Jim Jeffries has improved the mood and team spirit at Tynecastle out of all recognition, after previously drifting like a rudderless ship with Casba Laszlo at the helm, they are a club on the up and I do expect them to claim third spot in the SPL this season.
Hearts -0.75 ball 1.94 Sbobet.