Hearts V Partick at Tynecastle Stadium : Match Preview

04 March 2016
Hearts V Partick - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Robbie Neilson wants to end good week with third straight win

Head coach Robbie Neilson is aiming for three in a row when Hearts face Partick Thistle at Tynecastle on Saturday to set them up for the season's climax.

The Gorgie side are sitting comfortably third in the Ladbrokes Premiership with 50 points from 27 games following their return to the top flight and the former Jambos defender has second-placed Aberdeen in his sights.

To that end, Neilson is looking to build on victories over Kilmarnock last weekend and Inverness on Tuesday night when the seventh-placed Jags visit.

He told Press Association Sport: "We knew we had a big week this week with three home games.

"We have managed to win two and we want to make it three out of three.

"Thistle are a team pushing for the top six, they are a tough team with some good players.

"But if we can get the result on Saturday it guarantees top six for us.

"It was what we set out for at the start of the season so it would be great if we could do that and then it gives us a chance to focus on getting up the league."

They will have to do so without Callum Paterson, who will miss around a month with a torn shoulder ligament.

Partick boss Alan Archibald has several injury doubts, with Stuart Bannigan and Steven Lawless both picking up knocks during the midweek win over St Johnstone and Freddie Frans also doubtful. Right-back Mustapha Dumbuya remains out with an ankle injury.

Archibald believes mental sharpness is key as the Jags try to follow up a midweek win over St Johnstone for the second consecutive Saturday.

Archibald admitted his players looked "a bit leggy" after their 3-1 defeat at Motherwell on Saturday but they were back to their best on Wednesday when they made it six points in nine days against Saints.

Now Thistle will attempt to maintain the momentum against Hearts in the first of a hat-trick of fixtures against the top three, but they have even less time to recover from their latest win over St Johnstone.

"The week before we went to Fir Park and were really poor so hopefully we can take the performance against St Johnstone, especially the first half, into Tynecastle because that's a tough venue and we'll need to be at our best to get anything," Archibald said.

"I think it's a mental thing. The Motherwell game we didn't start well. They were first to every ball and we can't let that happen."

Thistle are aiming to reverse poor fortunes against Hearts, who have scored seven goals without reply against the Maryhill team in two meetings.

"We've not laid a glove on them, we haven't scored against them, we haven't played well against them," Archibald said.

"It's something we want to reverse, see if we can get that goal and see if it affects them and how they react to it."

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