Preview: Hearts vs. Hibernian – prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday’s Scottish Cup clash between Hearts and Hibernian, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Hearts and Hibernian will renew their rivalry with a showdown in the Scottish FA Cup semi-finals on Saturday afternoon.

While Hearts are in good form in the Scottish Premiership and have effectively sealed third spot, Hibs have put together contrasting results and find themselves outside of the top six.

Match preview

Hearts' manager Robbie Neilson on January 26, 2022© Reuters

For teams like Hearts and Hibernian, reaching the Scottish Cup final is always one of the biggest targets of their campaign with Celtic and Rangers left to challenge for the league title.

For that to materialise, the big two, more often than not, need to be drawn against each other, and that is exactly how things panned out in the semi-final draw.

While neither team will be taking progression as a given, they each know that they were fortunate with the outcome, increasing expectations among the respective fanbases.

For Hearts, a third appearance in the final in four attempts would be the cherry on the cake after their best league campaign in over a decade, the Jam Tarts already 16 points clear in third spot in the top flight.

Robbie Neilson‘s team are also on a seven-match unbeaten streak in all competitions, their most recent success coming against Saturday’s opponents.

Although Hibs held an early lead at Tynecastle, Hearts roared back to claim a 3-1 success, Andy Halliday chipping in with two of the goals.

To reach this stage of the competition, Hearts have overcome Auchinleck Talbot, Livingston and St Mirren, the middle of those games being decided on penalties.

As for Hibs, they have defeated each of Cove Rangers, Arbroath and Motherwell, the success in the latter representing their only success in seven outings in all competitions.

Failing to prevail in any of their last six Scottish Premiership fixtures has left Shaun Maloney with just six wins from his 18 matches in charge.

Hearts Scottish Cup form:

Hearts form (all competitions):

Hibernian Scottish Cup form:

Hibernian form (all competitions):

Team News

Hibernian's Ryan Porteous in action on February 27, 2022© Reuters

Barring any fitness issues, Neilson may decide to stick with the Hearts XI which battled their way to success over Hibs last weekend.

Neilson made just one change for that fixture, swapping Aaron McEneff for Nathaniel Atkinson, and a role reversal appears to be the only realistic alteration which could occur.

Gary Mackay-Steven will come under consideration if Neilson decides to include another player with big-game experience.

Hibs will be able to call upon the services of Ryan Porteous, the defender’s current four-match suspension only counting for league fixtures.

Maloney must decide whether to remain with a back three or switch to a defensive four, but Porteous will almost certainly take his place in the side.

Josh Campbell could potentially be recalled in a creative area ahead of Chris Mueller.

Hearts possible starting lineup:
Gordon; Sibbick, Halkett, Kingsley; Atkinson, Harin, Halliday, Cochrane; Boyce, McKay; Simms

Hibernian possible starting lineup:
Macey; Bushiri, Hanlon, Porteous; Cadden, Doyle-Hayes, Newell, Doig; Wright, Campbell; Melkersen

SM words green background

We say: Hearts 2-0 Hibernian

When it comes to cup semi-finals, there is sometimes the perception that the underdog can raise their game or shake off poor form. However, in this instance, we can only back Hearts to come through with flying colours to set up a showdown with one of the Glasgow giants.

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