Scottish Premier League – Week 3 previews
Aberdeen v Hearts
Hearts have enjoyed good recent results at Pittodrie – Aberdeen have won only two of the last eleven league meetings at home – and a victory for Paulo Sergio’s side would be their 100th over Aberdeen in the league. Peter Pawlett is missing for Aberdeen as he serves the second game of his two-match suspension. John Sutton scored twice when Hearts won the first meeting of the sides this season 3-0 – Aberdeen’s biggest defeat of the season – while Stephen Elliott has scored in both Hearts’ last two games.
Celtic v Rangers
Rangers will be without defender Dorin Goian through suspension but Lee McCulloch is available after the Ibrox club appealed his red card against St Mirren last weekend. Celtic’s Daniel Majstorovic is out for five weeks with a fractured cheekbone but Emilio Izaguirre and Kelvin Wilson could both start after returning to the bench against Kilmarnock at the weekend. The last six Parkhead meetings in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League have seen two wins apiece and two draws, but on-form Celtic have won their last eight league games. Rangers by contrast have won only three of their last six and their lead at the top of the table has been cut to one point.
Hibernian v Inverness CT
Hibs manager Pat Fenlon has promised changes as he seeks his first win as Easter Road manager. Striker Garry O’Connor – who scored the winner the last time the clubs met – missed Saturday’s defeat at Tannadice with a toe injury and is doubtful as Hibs look forward to the Edinburgh derby. Hibs have lost their last four games while Caley Thistle haven’t kept a clean sheet since they beat Hibs 2-0 in May – but the Highlanders have won ten of the twenty league meetings of the clubs.
Motherwell v Dunfermline Athletic
Motherwell will be missing Steve Jennings as he serves the second game of a two-match ban while Dunfermline are likely to keep Chris Smith in goal as Paul Gallacher remains sidelined with a shoulder injury. Dunfermline have won only once in their last ten visits to Fir Park and the SPL’s bottom side have taken just one point from their last six games. Home form has been Motherwell’s achilles heel though – they haven’t won a game at Fir Park for three months.
St Johnstone v Kilmarnock
Killie’s Christmas Eve defeat to Celtic was their first loss in five games – and they’ve won five of their last nine against St Johnstone. Steve Lomas’ side’s form has been patchy – their win at Dunfermline on Saturday was their first win in four matches. Cillian Sheridan and Frazer Wright will remain on the sidelines for them because of injury.
St Mirren v Dundee United
Saints captain Jim Goodwin is missing as he serves the second match of his three-game suspension. Three of the last four meetings of these sides have ended in 1-1 draws – but Saints will seek to build on last weekend’s win over Rangers. They’ve lost only two of their last eight games. But the only defeats United have suffered in their last nine games have been to the Old Firm.