Hearts sweat over fitness of key man, Dundee United issues ease - team news and The Scotsman's prediction

Hearts striker Liam Boyce has a good chance of returning after missing the last two matches with a calf injury.

Hearts' Liam Boyce scores the opening goal during a cinch Premiership match between Dundee United and Hearts at Tannadice, on August 28, 2021.
Hearts' Liam Boyce scores the opening goal during a cinch Premiership match between Dundee United and Hearts at Tannadice, on August 28, 2021.

However, Andy Halliday is suspended following his red card in last weekend's defeat at Aberdeen.

Dundee United could have an unchanged squad after head coach Tam Courts saw several fitness problems ease. Right-back Liam Smith is targeting a return from a knee injury immediately after the international break while striker Marc McNulty (hamstring) remains out.

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Last meeting: Hearts defeated Dundee United 2-0 at Tannadice earlier in the season, with Boyce and Armand Gnanduillet scoring.

Last five league matches: Hearts W D D D L; Dundee Utd W W W D L

Top scorers: Liam Boyce (Hearts) 9; Peter Pawlett (Dundee Utd) 5

Match odds: H 7-10 D 13-5 A 4-1

Referee: John Beaton (Scotland)

The Scotsman’s prediction: Much depends on the availability of Boyce for Hearts. The hosts are not the same team without him. Dundee United will be smarting after a sore loss at home to St Johnstone and could take advantage of Hearts’ decline. A score-draw feels like it’s on the cards.