The Gers watched on as their arch-rivals celebrated winning the league title in midweek, and that may put the fire in the belly to end the season on a high with an emphatic win.
Gio van Bronckhorst’s men come into today’s match off the back of a 4-1 win at home to Ross County and they will be looking to continue building positive momentum ahead of the Europa League final next week.
How many changes will the Dutchman make to the team from Wednesday? Here is our predicted XI to take on Hearts…
We are predicting that he will make four alterations to the side which started against Ross County, with Leon Balogun, Scott Arfield, Aaron Ramsey, Fashion Sakala all coming in.
The top-flight campaign has virtually finished for the Gers as they are guaranteed to finish second in the table irrespective of what happens today. This means that Van Bronckhorst can make changes to his team and use this match as another opportunity to spread minutes around the squad to keep as many players as fresh as possible for the clash with Eintracht Frankfurt in Seville next Wednesday.
At the back, Balogun may come in for Borna Barisic. This would allow Calvin Bassey to play at left-back and also give the ex-Wigan centre-back some valuable minutes ahead of the Europa League final.
In midfield, Arfield could replace Alex Lowry. The experienced Canada international has played 11 times in the Europa League this season, which suggests that Van Bronckhorst will want to get him some minutes in the tank in case he is called upon next Wednesday.
Ramsey is another Gers player in need of game-time. The Welshman – who Martin Keown previously dubbed an “outstanding technician” – was an unused substitute in midweek, so it could be time for him to come in for a start today to boost his match fitness.
Finally, Joe Aribo may be axed after he failed to score or set up a goal in the 4-1 win over Ross County despite playing at centre-forward. Ezri Konsa once described the Nigerian’s style as “languid” and we are predicting that Sakala will get the nod in Aribo’s place to showcase his energetic play at the top of the pitch.