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Preview: Ross County vs. Hearts - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Scottish Premiership clash between Ross County and Hearts, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Ross County will look for their first win of the season on Saturday when they welcome Hearts to the Global Energy Stadium in the Scottish Premiership.

However, they will have to end the undefeated start that the visitors have made as they continue to place pressure on the top two teams in the league.


Match preview

Hearts manager Robbie Neilson pictured on October 31, 2020© Reuters

It has been a miserable start to the season for Ross County, who have lost three out of their opening five league fixtures, picking up two draws in the other games.

After earning a point on the opening day against St Johnstone, it has proven to be a difficult beginning which has seen them play against some of the top teams in the league.

Malky Mackay's men have had to compete against Celtic, Rangers, Aberdeen and Hibernian so far, with all four teams finding themselves in the top half of the table currently.

Ross County were unfortunate not to earn three points when they played Aberdeen, with a late goal seeing them share the spoils, but they were unable to capitalise on that impressive performance at the weekend.

They travelled to Celtic and suffered a 3-0 defeat in their most recent outing, with two goals from Albian Ajeti in the space of five minutes putting the game out of their reach.

Hearts' Liam Boyce scores from the penalty spot against Hibernian in the Scottish Cup on October 31, 2020© Reuters

This added to the defensive issues that Mackay's team have been dealing with this season, as Ross County have conceded 11 goals in their opening five fixtures, with no team in the league having let in more.

They must now face another team in great form at the weekend, with Hearts having not lost a match yet in the Scottish Premiership, with the team enjoying life back in the top flight following promotion.

After kickstarting their season with a victory against Celtic, Robbie Neilson's men have not looked back, picking up three wins and two draws so far in the league.

Hearts have looked strong in front of goal, with Liam Boyce having scored four already across all competitions as he looks to be the talisman for the club.

The Jambos come into this game on the back of a goalless draw against Hibernian, which was the first time this season they have not found the back of the net within a game.

Ross County Scottish Premiership form:
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • L

Ross County form (all competitions):
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • L

Hearts Scottish Premiership form:
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • D

Hearts form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • D



Team News

Hearts' Liam Boyce celebrates scoring with teammates against Hibernian on October 31, 2020© Reuters

Jack Baldwin made his first start for Ross County during the defeat against Celtic, with the new signing now fully bedded into the team, it is expected he will be a regular in the back four this season.

Alex Samuel was also thrown into the starting XI after joining the club from Wycombe Wanderers during transfer deadline day, with the forward being a new attacking option for Mackay.

Hearts were able to welcome Stephen Kingsley back into the team for the goalless draw with Hibernian, taking Andy Halliday's place in the starting XI.

New signing Barrie McKay was also able to make an appearance for the club, coming off the bench to get some minutes, and he will be another option for Neilson.

Ross County possible starting lineup:
Laidlaw; Paton, Baldwin, Clarke, Burroughs; Spittal, Tillson; Samuel, Charles-Cook, Callachan; White

Hearts possible starting lineup:
Gordon; Souttar, Halkett, Kingsley; Smith, Baningime, Haring, Cochrane; Woodburn, Mackay-Steven, Boyce


SM words green background

We say: Ross County 0-2 Hearts

Hearts should be too strong for Ross County in this match based on how both teams have started their respective seasons in the Scottish Premiership.

The hosts have struggled defensively, which could open up plenty of opportunities for the visitors to exploit as they continue to push up the table.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data


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How you voted: Ross County vs Hearts

Ross County
4.9%
Draw
14.6%
Hearts
80.5%
41
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Hibernian manager Jack Ross pictured in October 2020
Read Next:
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1RangersRangers10721178923
2Hearts10550167920
3Dundee UnitedDundee Utd10622106420
4Celtic106132361719
5Hibernian104331412215
6Motherwell104241213-114
7St Mirren103431318-513
8Aberdeen103251113-211
9Livingston10316915-610
10St Johnstone10235611-59
11Dundee10145818-107
12Ross County100371022-123

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