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

:Headline: Preview: Hibernian vs. Hearts - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Tuesday's Scottish Premiership clash between Hibernian and Hearts, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

The midweek action in the Scottish Premiership includes the Edinburgh derby between Hibernian and Hearts at Easter Road on Tuesday evening.

The great rivals in Scotland head into their clash just two places apart in the table, but with the visitors boasting a 12-point gap over their hosts.

Match preview

Saturday's 3-2 defeat at home to Livingston means it has been a mixed start to Shaun Maloney's time in charge of Hibernian.

The 39-year-old has now gone winless in his last three Scottish Premiership games since beating Aberdeen and Dundee United in back-to-back games at the start of his tenure towards the end of December.

Demetri Mitchell netted his first goal for the club since arriving from Blackpool in the early stages against Livingston at the weekend, and despite being pegged back just 12 minutes later, Chris Cadden restored Hibernian's lead before half time.

However, despite dominating possession, Hibs were well off the pace in the second half and eventually succumbed to the 3-2 loss following a quickfire Livingston double before the hour mark.

Tuesday's hosts remain in fifth spot thanks to Aberdeen's postponed match and Dundee United's late defeat at Celtic, with the two-point gap remaining intact to United outside the top six.

Maloney will be desperate to get back to winning ways in his first taste of the Edinburgh derby as a manager on Tuesday though, although to do so he will have to accomplish what his predecessors have failed to do since March 2018 - defeating their rivals at Easter Road - when Hibs came out victorious 2-0 under Neil Lennon.

Meanwhile, Hearts make the trip across Edinburgh on the back of a solid 2-0 victory over fourth-placed Motherwell on Saturday.

Andy Halliday and Ellis Simms netted the goals either side of half time as Robbie Neilson's side cruised to a relatively comfortable three points.

The win leaves Hearts sitting comfortably in third, with the gap to Motherwell being extended to 10 points as a result, and the distance between themselves and Celtic in second remaining at 12 points.

However, Neilson and his side will certainly be avoiding complacency on Tuesday though, with bragging rights well and truly on the line in this fierce rivalry.

Hearts boast the joint-best defence on the road this season, with just 10 goals conceded from as many games, which has seen them lose just three of their away trips in the Scottish Premiership so far.

With no defeats in their last three meetings with their rivals either, Tuesday's visitors will be sure to come out at Easter Road with plenty of confidence, especially considering their excellent run of seven wins across their last 10 matches in all competitions, with the only exceptions being defeats to the Old Firm duo of Rangers and Celtic.

Hibernian Scottish Premiership form:
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • L

Hibernian form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • L

Hearts Scottish Premiership form:
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W

Hearts form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W

Team News

Hibs boss Maloney will need to assess the availability of both Paul McGinn and captain Paul Hanlon ahead of Tuesday's derby.

The former limped off inside the first half on Saturday, whilst the latter missed out entirely for the second game in a row.

Harry Clarke and Kyle Magennis are also doubts for Tuesday as well, with the duo expected to miss out for at least another week due to injuries.

As for the visitors, Neilson could opt to name an unchanged starting lineup following their impressive victory at the weekend.

His decision will depend on the fitness of his side having played just three days earlier, like their hosts, but the defensive pair of Michael Smith and Craig Halkett are the only injury concerns as things stand.

Simms and Gary Mackay-Steven could be set to lead the line with Liam Boyce in support, although Liverpool-loanee Ben Woodburn could push for a start.

Hibernian possible starting lineup:
Macey; Kiranga, Porteous, Stevenson; Cadden, Campbell, Hayes, Mitchell; Henderson; Nisbet, Murphy

Hearts possible starting lineup:
Gordon; Moore, Souttar, Kingsley; Atkinson, Devlin, Baningime, Halliday; Boyce; Simms, Mackay-Steven

We say: Hibernian 1-1 Hearts

It is difficult to see Hearts losing at their rivals on Tuesday, with their opponents putting in a very poor second-half display on Saturday and struggling overall since the return from the Scottish winter break.

The visitors are in great form and boast a strong record against their neighbours, but we expect the sides to cancel each other out and leave the derby with a share of the points.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 2.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 2.5:data

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