St Mirren boss Jim Goodwin expects to come up against a Hearts side brimming with confidence this weekend after they recorded two important victories in the last week.
Craig Levein found himself under increasing pressure in the build-up to Sunday’s Edinburgh derby clash against Hibernian, with Hearts languishing at the foot of the Ladbrokes Premiership table with just two points to their name.
But after coming from behind to beat Hibs 2-1 at Easter Road and securing their spot in the Betfred Cup semi-finals with a penalty shoot-out victory over Aberdeen on Wednesday, the outlook is much brighter at Tynecastle.
And Goodwin, whose Saints side are looking to reverse their own fortunes after failing to win any of their last four games, thinks Hearts will have a spring in their step when they visit Paisley on Saturday.
“They’re a very good side,” he said. “They’ve got some good strength in depth, they’ve got players who can certainly cause you problems at the back.
“I think they probably had been lacking in a bit of confidence, maybe, the last couple of weeks.
“But I think certainly those two results that they’ve picked up in the last few days will have given them a lot of hope and a lot of belief.
“And I’m sure they’ll be coming into our game feeling a lot better about themselves this week than what they were maybe two or three weeks ago.
“I’ve been to their last two games. I went to the derby on Sunday and I went through to Tynecastle last night to watch them against Aberdeen and I thought in both games they were excellent.
“I thought they were the better team on both occasions.”
St Mirren have had a full week to prepare for the game following their goalless draw with Hamilton last weekend.
But while he accepts his team will be fresher than Hearts after they followed up an emotionally-charged derby victory with a game that went to extra time and penalties in midweek, Goodwin does not think that will give St Mirren much of an advantage.
He added: “With them playing the extra game during the week, we should be fresher, there is no getting away from that.
“But at the same time I think with them having two positive results off the back of it, I don’t think tired minds and tired legs comes into it.
“Emotionally they will have put a lot into the derby on Sunday and obviously playing the extra time last night wouldn’t have been ideal for their preparation but I’m certainly not thinking it’s going to give us a huge advantage.
“Yes, we should be a little bit fresher but at the same time I think Hearts will be looking forward to the game at the weekend and hoping to carry on the good form that they’ve found in the last couple of games.”
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