St Mirren vs Heart of MidlothianScottish Premiership, KO: 19:45 Mar 11, 2020, Simple Digital Arena
HEARTS have lifted some of the Gorgie gloom by embarking on a four-game unbeaten run but still head to Paisley sitting bottom of the table for a six-pointer with relegation rivals St Mirren.
A point at home to third-placed Motherwell on Saturday wasn't the worst result in the world for the Jambos on the back of a thrilling derby win and a rousing triumph over Rangers in the Scottish Cup.
But Hamilton's late winner against Kilmarnock moved them four points above Daniel Stendel's side and it's now St Mirren who sit second bottom, three ahead of the Tynecastle side.
So the stakes couldn't be higher as Hearts bid to climb above the Buddies, who crashed 5-0 at Celtic Park at the weekend, with a morale-boosting win.
The Jambos blew the chance to move off the foot of the table in their last six-pointer at home to Hamilton, falling 2-0 down inside 16 minutes.
A controversial first-half red card for Accies' Jamie Hamilton helped Hearts salvage a point but they need to start winning these relegation battles to move out of the danger zone.
Another crunch clash now looms in Paisley, with St Mirren needing a lift after winning just two of their last 11 games in all competitions. But five of those matches have ended in draws so Jim Goodwin's men have generally been pretty hard to beat.
How the bookies view it
This is a really tough one to predict but if pushed I'd side with a stalemate as Hearts have drawn five of their last nine league games.
Recent head to head
The Jambos turned in one of their best performances this season when they beat St Mirren 5-2 at Tynecastle when Austin MacPhee was in caretaker charge (below).
Their first meeting of the campaign ended in a dreary 0-0 stalemate in Paisley and the Buddies are unbeaten in their last seven home games against Hearts, winning four.
The last Paisley victory for the capital club came back in 2012, when goals from Jamie Hamill and Rudi Skacel sealed a 2-0 win.
Players to watch
Jonathan Obika was superb for St Mirren in their 4-4 Scottish Cup thriller at Motherwell, scoring twice and setting up the other two goals.
The Englishman also netted against Hearts at Tynecastle earlier in the season and looks overpriced at 11/4 with Bet365 for a goal here.
Conor Washington has netted in his last two games for the Jambos and looks to be hitting his stride. The Northern Irish striker is 5/2 for a goal here with 888Sport and that looks decent value.
Anything else catch the eye?
Both sides have been ropey at the back in recent games. Despite it finishing goalless when the Jambos last headed to Paisley, I can see this being more like the seven-goal thriller at Tynecastle in November. Over 2.5 goals is a decent 61/50 at Marathonbet and I'll be having a punt on that.
With so much at stake, this could get a bit feisty so the card markets offer a bit of value. I like the look of the 4/1 Bet365 are offering on a card for Saints stopper Conor McCarthy.
This Scottish Premiership match between St Mirren and Heart of Midlothian will be played on Mar 11, 2020 and kick off at 19:45