Hearts made light work of the Championship last season, losing just three times in 36 outings and topping the pile by an emphatic 21 points. Little wonder then that the bookies reckon the Jambos will hit the ground running as they return to the big time.
Clear second favourites behind Aberdeen, Robbie Neilson’s men are 11/2 at Ladbrokes in the title market without Celtic and Hills make them 23/20 jollies to start as they mean to go on by taking all three points from their Premiership opener against St Johnstone.
Saints were solid last term, finishing fourth and faring pretty well both at McDiarmid Park and on their travels so they’ll certainly be no pushovers at Tynecastle. However, momentum is undoubtedly with Hearts and the excitement surrounding their top flight comeback should be enough to push them over the line in what should be a fiercely fought encounter.
Nevertheless, a close encounter seems inevitable so a case can be made for Stan James’s 11/4 marked against the Gorgie outfit edging it by a one-goal margin.
Only rock-bottom St Mirren scored fewer goals than St Johnstone over the course of the last campaign, Tommy Wright’s shot-shy side averaging fewer than one per game. Accordingly, Hearts look well placed to combine victory with a clean sheet (5/2, Paddy Power) and BetVictor report money for them at 6/1 to shade it 1-0.
At the other end, the Jambos shared the goals around in the Championship but Osman Sow bagged a healthy eleven and he’s 11/2 with bet365 to break the deadlock today.
Hearts to beat St Johnstone by one goal – 11/4 (Stan James)