‘Motherwell have the tools to hurt them’: Journalists’ predictions for Motherwell v Hearts

Our online team achieved six correct predictions from six after the low-hanging fruit that was Hearts v Auchinleck last week. Let’s see how they get on with a tougher match to forecast at Fir Park this weekend.

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Anthony Brown: Another formidable away game for Hearts but after winning at Easter Road and Rugby Park in their previous two outings, I expect them to grind out another victory on the road, with Uche Ikpeazu getting back on the score sheet at the venue where he suffered his freakish foot injury last September. Hearts win

Neil McGlade: Stephen Robinson’s side are one of the form teams of the division, notching four consecutive Premiership victories since their Scottish Cup exit to Ross County which has transformed their season in the blink of an eye. The Steelmen have now set their sights firmly on a top-six finish. But Hearts are in decent form themselves and head along the M8 with a degree of confidence. The Jambos have already tasted success at Fir Park this season but that was against an underperforming Well outfit. The loss of Michael Smith to injury is a massive blow to Craig Levein and I am not sure he has an able deputy to keep the threat of David Turnbull to a minimum. I think Hearts will find the net but Motherwell will score more. Motherwell win.

Hearts won on their last trip to Motherwell. Picture: SNS

Joel Sked: Over the last few seasons Fir Park has not been as difficult as place as it was previously for the Tynecastle side and they edged out a 1-0 win earlier in the campaign but it came at a cost with Ikpeazu picking up an injury which kept him out for 21 games. Hearts faced a different Motherwell side back then. In the last couple of months they have undergone a transformation with a switch in playing style with a more vibrant and youthful line-up. However, all of their recent wins have come against bottom six opposition and four were by a goal. While Hearts may not be playing their best the squad is strong, but the lack of fluency will cost them all three points. Draw.

Mark Atkinson: It was only a few weeks ago that Stephen Robinson’s Motherwell looked like they were going to slip towards the bottom of the league, so huge credit must go to them for turning things around since the County defeat. Those victories, however, came against Hibs, Dundee, Livingston and St Mirren - hardly the most in-form teams in the division. Hearts will be a step up in grade. For the Jambos, Smith’s loss will be keenly felt and not having Peter Haring to shut down the energetic duo of Turnbull and Alan Campbell could be a problem for them. This is an intriguing clash between two teams in good nick. It all points to a draw.

Craig Fowler: The loss of both starting full-backs is a significant blow for Hearts and its impact could be felt as quickly as this Sunday. In Jake Hastie and Gboly Ariyibi, Motherwell have two threatening wingers capable of exposing the reserve players thrust into the starting XI. Neither Marcus Godinho nor Ben Garuccio - or whomever Levein chooses to station at left-back - are particularly strong on the defensive side of the game. Throw in the lack of Haring to match up with Turnbull, and Motherwell certainly have the tools to hurt Hearts. The visitors, with Ikpeazu getting up to full speed, will pose a threat themselves, but whether that’s enough for victory is another matter. Prediction: Motherwell to win and both teams to score

Patrick McPartlin: Motherwell are on a fine run while Hearts have lost just once in their last eight games, suggesting that this Premiership clash in Lanarkshire could be a tasty encounter. ‘Well duo Hastie and Turnbull continue to impress while key Jambos such as Ikpeazu and John Souttar have returned from injury lay-offs as Levein’s side look to recapture their early season form. While Fir Park can be a tricky place to go, Hearts have already won there once this season, and will be hoping to make it two on Sunday. That being said, the home side will put up a real fight as they chase a top six spot. Prediction: Score draw