Heart of Midlothian will look to join Aberdeen, Celtic and Rangers in the last four of the Scottish Cup this evening when they travel to Cappielow to face Greenock Morton.

Steven Naismith will be without a number of first-team stars due to injury. Calem Nieuwenhof was the latest to join a list that includes Craig Halkett, Barrie McKay, Frankie Kent, Liam Boyce and Yutaro Oda. 

It means a few decisions are required. Our writers Joel and James look at the potential line-up.

READ MORE: Why Hearts boss Steven Naismith thinks he couldn't be at a better club

Joel Sked

Hearts Standard:

When Craig Gordon spoke last week he, like Steven Naismith before him, said there was no definitive cup goalkeeper. But going on past evidence it is hard to see past the 41-year-old being between the sticks, as he was against The Spartans and Airdrieonians.

The big decision, for me, is the replacement for Calem Nieuwenhof. The Aussie has become a key player in the middle of the park for Hearts and his presence will be missed during his absence. Now, Naismith has plenty of options in the middle of the park. There is the energy of both Aidan Denholm and Cammy Devlin, plus the more ball-playing talents of Macaulay Tait. Yet, I wouldn't be surprised to see him go with Alex Cochrane. Naismith likes the way the left-back can play the position, the way he uses the ball and his football intelligence. It is something he spoke to Hearts Standard about regarding previous outings in that position.

That has a knock-on effect elsewhere. With the belief it will be a back four, Stephen Kingsley moves to left-back meaning Toby Sibbick and Kye Rowles are the centre-back partnership. That pairing have had issues against physical strikers but George Oakley could be absent tonight. 

With it being a back four, Nathaniel Atkinson may come back in but it would be harsh on Dexter Lembikisa after his excellent performance against Celtic.

The front three picks itself. 

Predicted line-up: Gordon; Atkinson, Sibbick, Rowles, Kingsley; Baningime, Cochrane, Grant, Vargas, Shankland, Forrest.

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James Cairney

I expect we’ll see the back four return this evening at Cappielow. The 3-5-2 shape was a key component in Hearts’ 2-0 win over Celtic last weekend, but Greenock Morton are a very different team. Dougie Imrie’s men are unlikely to press quite so aggressively in their final third, and I suspect the Hearts backline will be allowed to keep possession in defence without too much pressure being applied. The men in maroon will likely have the numbers when building out from the back, and so sacrificing a centre-half for another player further up the park seems like a sensible decision to me.

As for who will comprise that four-man defence? That’s a little trickier. Craig Gordon seems the most likely candidate to start in goals and in front of him, Steven Naismith doesn’t have too many options available to him. All three of Stephen Kingsley, Kye Rowles and Toby Sibbick were excellent in last week’s win over Celtic, but I suspect Sibbick will drop to the bench tonight. I think we’ll see Alex Cochrane on the left and on the right, I think Dexter Lembikisa will start. The on-loan Wolves defender is perhaps better suited to the 3-5-2 but he offered far, far more in the win over Celtic than Nathaniel Atkinson did in the draw with Hibs or the heavy defeat at Ibrox. On current form, it is surely Lembikisa’s position to lose.

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I’d expect Beni Baningime to take up his usual role at the base of midfield tonight, but I think we’ll see a couple of changes elsewhere in the middle. One of these is enforced after Calem Nieuwenhof picked up a knock last week but unlike central defence, Naismith has plenty of options here. Macaulay Tait and Aidan Denholm will both be hoping for a start, but I think we’ll see Cammy Devlin slot in to replace his compatriot. The Aussie has only started one match in the past few months and needs minutes to get back up to speed. In a similar vein, I think we’ll see Scott Fraser brought into the starting line-up at the expense of Jorge Grant.

The absences of Barrie McKay, Yutaro Oda and Liam Boyce mean that the front three pretty much picks itself at this point. Kenneth Vargas will start on the right, Alan Forrest will line up on the left – and, as always, Lawrence Shankland will lead the line in attack.

Predicted line-up: Gordon; Lembikisa, Kingsley, Rowles, Cochrane; Baningime, Devlin, Fraser; Vargas, Shankland, Forrest.