Heart of Midlothian 0-0 Livingston
Wednesday 6th February 2019, KO 19:45 | Ladbrokes Premiership | Tynecastle Park
Wednesday night’s meeting against Livingston will still come too early for Uche Ikpeazu (foot) and Peter Haring (hernia). Michael Smith (groin) was taken off early against Kilmarnock and is a doubt.
Marcus Godinho could return after he missed the Friday night trip to Kilmarnock, alongside David Vanecek (ankle). Fellow striker Craig Wighton (ankle) will definitely miss out.
Livingston manager Gary Holt remains without Lee Miller who has suffered a recurrence of a knee injury that has plagued him for most of this season. Rafaelle de Vita (knee) will also miss out and is yet to play any competitive football this season.
Hearts are on a good run of form at the moment, winning five of their last six games.
Dundee is the only blip on their recent record after the Jambos recorded their first away win of 2019 against Kilmarnock. A quickfire double from Sean Clare and Steven Naismith put Hearts 2-0 up before Jordan Jones’ penalty threatened a Kilmarnock comeback but the Jambos put on a resolute second-half display to secure victory.
Meanwhile, Livingston haven’t won since that evening at the Almondvale where they won 5-0 over Hearts.
They’ve lost all five of their last games and are yet to pick up a win in 2019. Firstly, they were knocked out of the cup by Hearts at Tynecastle just two-and-a-half weeks ago and they followed that with a 1-0 loss to St Johnstone.
Since then, their normally stonewall defence has shipped six goals, losing 3-0 to Rangers and Motherwell.
Head to Head
Hearts and Livingston have met three times this season, with one win apiece and a draw.
Livingston have only won twice at Tynecastle in their competitive history, with their last win coming on the final day of the 2001-02 season. The Lions won the game 3-2 thanks to a last-minute penalty from former Hearts player Steve Fulton.
Their most recent trip was in the Scottish Cup when Sean Clare’s second-half strike won it for the Jambos.
Craig Levein faced the Lions eleven times in his first stint as Hearts boss, winning only three games, whilst drawing four and losing four. He lost those four in his first four encounters with them but after a 3-2 loss on the final day of his first season in charge, he learnt how to tame the Lions.
What Craig Said:
"Uche trained yesterday with the group for the first time. He'll definitely be involved on Sunday but tomorrow might just come a little bit early. Normally I'd say I'd try to twist his arm but I'm not going to try and twist his arm.
"Michael Smith had a little groin problem so he's not trained yet. Hopefully he'll be alright. I left Marcus Godinho out because of the pitch and his history of knee problems, so Marcus is available if Michael doesn't make it.
"We've had very, very difficult matches against Livingston this season and I don't expect anything other than that tomorrow night."
What Jake Said:
"It was a tough start but I was doing a lot off the pitch, doing a lot of extra work and I'm happy to be back in the team.
"It's taken me longer than anywhere else I've been to settle in, due to the fact that I'm playing in front of that many people, the pressure. I've been doing a lot off the pitch to mentally deal with these kind of situations and it's helped me.
"I've spoken with the gaffer and the coaching staff and I know what I need to do now on the pitch. I've simplified my game in terms of how I play. I know that the gaffer just wants the wide boys to deliver balls into the box so I've made it as simple as possible for myself to do so.
"I'm very blessed. It's different to what I'm used but I am really enjoying it and when you're doing well and the team's doing well, there's nothing better than that. I still need to prove myself a lot more, but I'm a bit more relaxed, a bit more settled and a bit more confident."