Heart of Midlothian vs MotherwellScottish Premiership, KO: 15:00 Sep 3, 2023, Tynecastle
MOTHERWELL'S resurgence under Stuart Kettlewell shows no sign of slowing and they will be looking to capitalise on a Euro hangover from Heart of Midlothian in this intriguing SPFL Premiership clash at Tynecastle.
The Steelmen were deep in relegation trouble when Kettlewell replaced Stevie Hammell last season but the former Ross County gaffer led them on a charge up the table and they finished the campaign in seventh place.
The loss of top scorer Kevin van Veen threatened to knock Motherwell out of their stride but Kettlewell looks to have recruited wisely and his side are undefeated so far in the Premiership with two wins and a draw.
A push for the top six looks far more likely than a battle against the drop, although the Fir Park side have been struck by injuries to key strikers ahead of this trip to Tynecastle.
Heart of Midlothian will be on a downer in this game after crashing 4-0 to PAOK in Greece on Thursday and the Jambos slipped up on Premiership duty last weekend after the first leg at Tynecastle.
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The target for the season at Tynecastle will be a third-place finish plus a crack at glory in one of the cups so they need to start finding some consistency. There's uncertainty in the dugout with Stevie Naismith becoming ‘technical director' this summer as Frankie McAvoy took on the mantle of head coach.
That could end up causing problems but Heart of Midlothian still have a strong squad and if they can end Motherwell's unbeaten run in the league it could spark the Jambos back to life after their Euro humbling.
How the bookies view it
I'm surprised to see Heart of Midlothian close to odds-on favourites at a best 21/20 with William Hill given they're coming into the game off the back of that gruelling trip to Greece. Motherwell look decent value at 11/4 with Bet365, although the injury crisis up front could hurt the Steelmen, and the draw pays 13/5 at StarSports.
Recent head to head
Motherwell beat Heart of Midlothian 2-0 at Fir Park in Kettlewell's second game in charge last term and that victory was key to their surge away from danger. But Tynecastle hasn't been a happy hunting ground for the Steelmen, with just one victory there in their last 12 visits. There was only one meeting at Tynecastle last season and it was a thriller, with Hearts winning 3-2 despite having Jorge Grant sent off in the first half.
Players to watch
It's hard to look past Lawrence Shankland for a Heart of Midlothian goal with the skipper in such deadly form. The Scotland striker is 11/8 with Bet365 to add to his five-goal tally and that looks good value.
Theo Bair was the only fit senior striker at Fir Park at the start of the week before Well snapped up Oli Shaw on Thursday night. Former St Johnstone man Bair got off the mark on the opening day with an equaliser at Dens Park and is 19/5 at Unibet to grab another goal in the capital.
Anything else catch the eye?
Motherwell have drawn just one blank all season and Hearts always set up to attack at home so it has the makings of an open game. BTTS is just 3/4 at QuinnBet but over 2.5 goals is a bit better at 10/11 with Bet365.
Heart of Midlothian have racked up 18 corners in their last two domestic games while Motherwell have only claimed seven across the same period. That makes me think backing Hearts -1 in the handicap looks good value here at 10/11 with Bet365.
There isn't much between the teams and it should be a close game. McBookie price a one-goal winning margin for either side at 11/8 and that could be worth a punt.
Motherwell picked up six yellow cards in last week's win over Kilmarnock and the ref could be in for another busy day. Paul McGinn has been booked in three of his eight appearances this term and the Well full-back is 13/8 at Bet365 for another card,
This Scottish Premiership match between Heart of Midlothian and Motherwell will be played on Sep 3, 2023 and kick off at 15:00. Check below for our tipsters best Heart of Midlothian vs Motherwell prediction. You may also visit our dedicated betting previews section for the most up to date previews.