Heart of Midlothian 4-0 Auchinleck Talbot
Sunday 10th February 2019, KO 15:00 | William Hill Scottish Cup | Tynecastle Park
Sean Clare is Craig Levein's biggest worry as the midfielder picked up a hip injury in the midweek draw against Livingston and now faces a fitness test before the cup tie.
Hearts welcomed back Uche Ikpeazu against Livingston as the striker came off the bench, and David Vanecek also made a return to the squad after overcoming an ankle injury.
Peter Haring (hernia) will miss out but could return for the Motherwell game next Sunday. Meanwhile, Craig Wighton (ankle) continues to recover from injury.
Talbot’s midfield regular Dwayne Hyslop was only on the bench against Petershill and forward Calvin Kemp was also named as a substitute, with Keir Samson starting ahead of him.
Andy Leishman returns to Tynecastle, having saved a penalty from Fraser Mullen the last time he played at Gorgie, and left-back Gordon Pope also returns hoping to properly get his name on the scoresheet this time round.
Auchinleck Talbot (or The Talbot) are a Junior side from Ayrshire who were formed in 1909 and play their home games at Beechwood Park, which has a capacity of 4,000.
Their manager, Tommy “Tucker” Sloan, was a striker back in the 80s and 90s and played for Ayr, Queen of the South, Kilmarnock and Stranraer. He took over as Talbot boss in 2003 and has since won the Scottish Junior Cup on five occasions (2006, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015).
He has also lifted the West of Scotland Super League title on five occasions, with the most recent win coming in the 2015-16 season – which was their fourth league title in a row.
Talbot striker Graham Wilson is their most obvious threat with the left-footed striker scoring 24 in 28 appearances – including four in six in the William Hill Scottish Cup. The 29-year-old was formerly on the books at Dumbarton and Cumnock Juniors – Talbot’s bitter rivals.
Hearts have won five of the last seven games but played out a disappointing scoreless draw against Livingston through the week.
The Lions travelled to Tynecastle having not won since December but they shut the Jambos out in a low-quality game in Gorgie.
Auchinleck Talbot are in superb form at the moment, sitting in third in McBookies Super League with seven games in hand.
After beating Ayr United 1-0, thanks to a goal from Craig McCracken, they’ve progressed to the Fifth Round of the Scottish Cup for the first time ever – becoming the first Junior side to get this far in the competition.
Their league form hasn’t dropped off either, beating Petershill 7-0 last Saturday away from home. In fact, they haven’t lost since October 6th and last dropped points in November.
Head to Head
Auchinleck Talbot is a familiar name to most Hearts fans, despite only one previous meeting of the two teams.
The sides met as recently as 2012 as Hearts squeezed past the Ayrshire side in the Fourth Round on the way to the lifting the Cup in one of the most famous finals in history.
The game at Tynecastle finished 1-0 thanks to a late Gordon Smith goal – but it could have finished a lot differently had Gordon Pope’s late goal not been incorrectly ruled out for offside.