WILLIE Duncan (@Willie_Duncan) returns from his international break chasing an eighth winner in nine.
Hearts v Dundee | Saturday 15.00
It had to happen eventually, didn’t it? We all knew that, sooner or later, I’d put myself at the mercy of accusations of unashamed bias by putting Hearts up as my best bet from Scotland.
Firstly, I’d like to make it clear that I am unashamedly biased – but there is certainly method in the madness when it comes to backing the Jam Tarts this weekend.
Robbie Neilson’s side are riding the crest of a wave at present, having kept four consecutive clean sheets in the Premiership – and now, Hearts find themselves as nearest challengers to leaders Celtic at the top of the table.
At the start of the season, I thought that Dundee would be up at the right end of the table making waves themselves after being impressed by them – for 45 minutes at least – during Hearts’ 2-1 win at Dens Park back in August.
In fact, so impressed was I by Dee that I put them up to beat St Johnstone as my best Scottish bet soon after that and the men from Dens delivered, winning 2-1 in the Tayside derby.
However, since then things have gone decidedly pear-shaped for Paul Hartley’s side, for Dundee have won just two of their subsequent 11 matches in all competitions.
Three draws in their last four matches means that it hasn’t been all doom and gloom, but Dundee have managed just one win in seven away outings since thumping Kilmarnock at Rugby Park on the first day of the season.
Hearts, in all honesty, have been solid more often than they have been spectacular this season, six successive league matches without defeat bodes well for the Jam Tarts.
Spanish striker Juanma will sit this one out after talking himself into one booking too many, but the Jam Tarts won’t lack attacking flair, with Jamie Walker, Billy King and Sam Nicholson all capable of producing fireworks on their day, while Osman Sow looks to be recapturing the kind of form that made him a firm favourite at Tynecastle last season.
It’s also worth noting that Hearts have never failed to find the net in a league match at Tynecastle since Robbie Neilson took charge – a run that now stretches to 25 matches.
I’ll be at a sold-out Tynecastle this weekend and I’m confident that the men in maroon will give me something to smile about come full-time in Gorgie.
Hearts at 10/11 (Ladbrokes) to beat Dundee is my best bet from Scotland this weekend.
Hearts v Dundee – Hearts to win (10/11 Ladbrokes)
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