Heart of Midlothian vs. Ayr United
Saturday 26th December 2020. Kick-off 3pm
On Boxing Day, Ayr United travel to Edinburgh to take on league leaders Heart of Midlothian at Tynecastle. The Honest Men will be looking to bounce back from defeat at Arbroath last week which ended a four match unbeaten run in the league and 6 hours of Championship football without conceding a goal.
The Honest Men slipped out of the top four with the loss at Gayfield but remain just three points off second place in an increasingly tight play-off picture. Just five points separate Dunfermline Athletic in second and Dundee in seventh.
Opposition: Hearts return to league action after Sunday’s thrilling Scottish Cup Final at Hampden that saw the Jam Tarts lose out on penalties to Celtic. The match looked to be heading only one way in the first-half after goals from Ryan Christie and Odsonne Edouard put Celtic in a comfortable position but second-half goals from Liam Boyce and Stephen Kingsley set the final to extra-time, which the Jambos led through Josh Ginelly, only for Leigh Griffiths to send the game to penalties.
Hearts hold a three point advantage at the top of the Championship with a game in hand having won six of their seven matches so far. Their only defeat came at East End Park last month. Their last league game saw them rout Queen of the South 6-1 at Tynecastle.
Team News: Innes Cameron misses out through injury.
Mark says: “We let ourselves down badly last week, we were nowhere near the standards that we expect of ourselves and sometimes having a game like this after a performance like that is a good thing. Hearts are obviously big favourites for the title and you saw last weekend how good they can be but we have good players in our team that can cause them problems. We had kept 4 clean sheets in a row prior to last weekend and had been on a good unbeaten run in the league, we need to build that momentum again.”
Ayr United: DWWDL
Heart of Midlothian: WLWWW
Head to head:
Ayr United wins – 27
Draws – 20
Heart of Midlothian wins – 47
Boxing Day will be the first league meeting between Ayr United and Heart of Midlothian since February 1983.
United’s last win over Hearts was over 40 years ago: the Honest Men won both legs of a League Cup 3rd round tie in September 1980.
United won the last meeting between the sides, a League Cup third round tie in September 2011. Scott Robinson put Hearts in front with a 49th-minute strike at Somerset Park but Gareth Wardlaw levelled for Ayr on 63 minutes and neither side could find a winner in extra time.
Kevin Cuthbert was Ayr’s penalty shoot-out hero, saving Danny Grainger’s attempt while Rudi Skacel also missed from the spot, allowing Mark Roberts to send the Honest Men into the quarter-final. Michael Moffat, Jamie McKernan and Alan Trouten also successfully converted.
Referee – David Munro
Assistant Referee 1 – Drew Kirkland
Assistant Referee 2 – Chris Philips
Ayr United supporters can register for PPV by visiting https://ppv.heartsfc.co.uk/events and registering your details in the top right of the screen. Once your details are registered and you are logged in, you can purchase the PPV by clicking on the graphic in the centre of the page and then selecting ‘Purchase Game Pass’.
Users are encouraged to remember their login details when registering. If there any issues logging in then please contact firstname.lastname@example.org ahead of kick off on Saturday.
Hearts have set the cost to stream this game at £18.50
Download the new HonestMen Picks app on Apple or Android and predict Saturday’s match action for a chance to top the live leaderboard and win cash prizes.