On or off – which is best scenario for Hearts against Inverness?
Considering Hearts currently sit third in the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership standings, eight points ahead of fourth-placed Ross County with a game in hand, they could be excused for having one eye beyond their next top-flight clash away at Inverness Caledonian Thistle.
Hearts are also eight points adrift of Aberdeen in second spot and with second and third in the final standings both entering next season’s Europa League in the same qualifying round, the incentive to go in serious pursuit of the Dons is minimal.
Almost certainly the bigger immediate concern is the fifth round of the Scottish Cup, with Hearts hosting Edinburgh rivals Hibernian in their next clash following Inverness.
However, there is the prospect that the Inverness showdown won’t even go ahead, with suggestions of heavy rain and snow on Scotland’s north-east coast, alongside the possibility of high winds reaching speeds of 90 miles per hour.
The big question is which of the game going ahead or being postponed benefits Hearts the most, given the upcoming Hibernian derby?
Should the game get the go ahead, travelling Hearts are the 7/5 favourites and they are unbeaten in seven in all competitions. Although their three road trips in this period have all been draws.
Another draw can be backed at 9/4, with Inverness repeating their home success from earlier in the season priced at 19/10.
The obvious benefit of a postponement is that injuries and suspensions will be avoided. Meanwhile, the currently banned Blazej Augustyn would see his suspension moved to the home game with Partick, which on paper at least should be easier.
On the flip side, Hearts manager Robbie Neilson will be prevented from giving some game time to those on the comeback trail from injury.
Morgaro Gomis is back in contention after missing the last five, Sam Nicholson has been absent for two in succession and Jamie Walker hasn’t featured since October.
Meanwhile, a victory over Inverness would ensure Hearts go into the Hibernian encounter with some momentum. At present they don’t, given their last match to date was a relatively dire goalless draw at Hamilton.
The fact the Inverness fixture is being aired on Sky Sports must make it tougher to call off, but if there is damage to the stadium or transport links are severely compromised, there may not be any choice.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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