Hearts miserly return of 12 points from 17 games, a draw against Livingston their only point amid defeats to Kilmarnock, St Johnstone, Motherwell and Newco, tell the story as to why Craig Levein was sacked and our opponents tonight are joint-bottom of the league.
Still, there are reasons for concern. Celtic were two points off the pace before Newco went to Tynecastle in October and were held. Hearts also raised their game sufficiently to beat Hibs. This is a team who did not take a point from two meetings with St Johnstone, but were able to be competitive when it mattered to them – against Hibs and Newco. Tonight will matter just as much.
A win will see Celtic go five points clear, albeit having played a game more, but points in the bag is always preferable to the burden of more games on the roster. This is also likely to be our only visit to Tynecastle this season, and maybe next, unless new manager Daniel Stendel can motivate his players to try a little harder against lesser sides.