Hearts are looking to make it three wins on the spin when they host ninth-placed Partick Thistle.
The Tynecastle outfit closed the gap on Aberdeen to six points with a 2-0 mid-week win over Inverness Caley Thistle in the capital and they’ll be looking for more of the same as they put the cement on a European slot for next season.
With an eleven point gap back down to fourth-placed Ross County, the Jambos can maintain a healthy lead on the chasing pack if they pick up the three points.
Jamie Walker and Abiola Dauda netted a goal in each half during the victory over the Highlanders and manager Robbie Neilson was delighted to see his side make it six points in four days following their 1-0 win over struggling Kilmarnock last weekend.
“I thought it was a good performance. We started the game well, showed a lot of patience and overall I thought we looked quite comfortable throughout,” he told the Hearts official website.
“We sat a bit deeper in the second half and they had more of the ball, but we probably created more chances by countering them.”
“We’re in a good position now and we want to cement that and get European football. It’s about getting as high up the table as we can. We’ve got the Partick game at home on Saturday then a tough period after that.”
“The goal at the start of the season was top six, so we’re ahead of schedule. It’s about progressing the club and building on this.”
The Jags have an important visit to St. Johnstone on Wednesday night and the extra day’s rest for the Hearts players may have an impact on the fitness levels in the match on Saturday.
They were beaten 3-1 by Motherwell after getting back on track with wins over St. Johnstone and Motherwell in their previous games, which are now coming thick and fast.
Those victories had stopped the rot of a run of four games without a win previously, and manager Alan Archibald was disappointed that the mini-revival had ended.
“It’s annoying to concede a couple of poor goals as we’ve been defensively great for long parts of the season,” he told the club website.
“The second goal comes from a throw in, while the third is a breakaway after we’ve been on the attack. If we were only two goals down by the time Booth grabs a goal back, then we maybe make them a lot more nervous, but to come back from three goals is an enormous ask and one that proved too big for us this afternoon.”
He is under no illusions to the size of the task in picking up points at in-form Hearts but will look again at his side’s tactics after Wednesday’s game.
“All of the things we’ve been doing well over the last few months we didn’t do well at all against Motherwell,” he said.
Archibald will be looking for a response from his players as they are just three points clear of the relegation place-off place, but have a number of games in hand.
Hearts Recent Form WDWLWW
Partick Thistle Recent Form LLDWWL
31/10/2015 Partick Thistle 0 Hearts 4
22/08/2015 Hearts 3 Partick Thistle 0
07/05/2014 Hearts 2 Partick Thistle 4
05/04/2014 Partick Thistle 2 Hearts 4
05/01/2014 Hearts 0 Partick Thistle 2
Hearts (4-4-2) – Alexander, Smith, Augustyn, Rossi Branco, Oshinwa, Abankwah, Gonzalez, Nicholson, Lloria, Dauda.
Partick Thistle (4-4-2) Cerny, Miller, Frans, Seaborne, Booth, Osman, Elliott, Lawless, Nesbitt, Bannigan, Doolan.
Hearts: Paterson (inj).
Partick Thistle: none.