Inverness v Hearts
Scottish Premiership. Kick-off : Saturday 31st August 3pm
Well, I think it was very wise to leave last weekend’s fixtures alone as I had a feeling they would not go to form but we shall move on from that and I think we have a great chance of a winning selection this weekend!
Inverness are top of the league, flying and it’s no surprise to me! Terry Butcher has to be one of the most underrated managers in the league for about the last 3 seasons. He works absolute wonders with the resources he has at his disposal and it mainly goes completely under the radar. Once again he is at it, adding to his squad with a couple of players from England and a young Norwegian striker I am interested to have a look at.
Probably Butcher’s biggest coup in the transfer market is how he has still managed to hang onto Billy McKay who banged in 27 goals last season. I’m amazed no one has come in for him as the lad knows where the back of the net is and has already scored in Inverness’s first 3 games this season. So it’s fair to say that Terry has built a good team who are big and strong and know each other well.
Inverness have started there league campaign with impressive wins over St Mirren, Dundee Utd, Motherwell and last weekend went to Celtic Park and were 2-0 up only to be clawed back by Celtic for a 2-2 draw in the last 10 minutes. Rightfully top of the league and in my opinion could well be best of the rest! Assuming no injuries you would have to imagine Inverness will go with the same starting 11 as against Celtic and will be well rested as they did not have to play in the cup midweek.
Predicted Lineup : Brill, Raven, Shinnie, Warren, Meekings, Vincent, Draper, Foran, Doran, Ross, McKay (4-4-2)
My young Jambos had a fantastic, and to be honest, unexpected 2-1 result last weekend at home to Aberdeen to earn another 3pts towards survival but it looks like that win will come at a cost. Defender Kevin McHattie was sent off and has failed in his appeal to get the red card overturned so he is set to miss out along with fellow defender and club captain Danny Wilson.
Wilson was shown a red card after the game for swearing at an opposing player which seems a bit harsh to me but is exactly the kind of silly suspensions Hearts very lightweight squad really can’t afford. That leaves Hearts with a very inexperienced back four of Hamill (27), McKay (20), McGowan (22), McGee (17). Keeper Jamie McDonald also had to be replaced by Mark Ridgers during the midweek cup tie win other Raith Rovers which went all the way to a penalty shootout. It was just a sprained ankle so hopefully he make this match and bump up the average age!
Predicted Lineup : McDonald, Hamill, McKay, McGowan, McGee, Walker, Holt, Robinson, King, Tapping, Paterson (4-5-1)
The Verdict : Inverness 2-0 Hearts
I am very worried for Hearts in this game even though they have a very good record in this fixture of coming away with a draw (4 of the last 5 matches at Inverness have ended 1-1). Best price for the Draw is 11/4 (Paddy Power) but the circumstances are very different this year and I think it will be a tall order for Hearts to avoid defeat here. Hearts are going into this match with a very much weakened team from previous seasons and with the suspensions highlighted above I really can’t see them stopping Inverness scoring at least 2 goals.
In all honesty it could turn out to be 3 or 4 with the firepower Inverness have in McKay, Doran and Foran. The bookies don’t seem to fancy an unlikely Hearts win either with an Away Win at 4/1 (Coral) available. The fact that Hearts rarely score more than a goal on their travels indicates that if Inverness continue their 2 goal a game average so far this season they will win this match and I believe they will manage this comfortable. The price has shortened all week from close to evens down to 5/6 (Ladbrokes) for a Home Win but I am still happy to advise that.
Key factors :
Hearts are missing 2 important defenders and will need to field teenagers.
Hearts had to play 120mins on Tuesday night in the cup, whereas Inverness are well rested.
Take an Inverness home win @ 5/6 (Ladbrokes)
Total Home goals OVER 1.5 @ 21/20 (Ladbrokes)