Liam Gormley previews this weekend’s games in the SPL. With Motherwell and St Johnstone meeting on Saturday and Celtic and Aberdeen on Sunday, the Scottish Cup semi finals make themselves centre of attention, so there is only 3 Premier League games to take the particulars of.
A win for Rangers over St Mirren would see them top the table. Hamilton will continue to desperately try to pull themselves from the mire against Hibs and Hearts travel the long and winding road to Inverness.
Rangers v St Mirren
A win for Rangers at home on Saturday will allow them to leapfrog over Celtic into poll position in the SPL and turn up the pressure, but only by a point. It’s more than likely St Mirren will set out to frustrate Rangers, but without Michael Higdon and the recent form he has enjoyed, they offer little goal threat.
Rangers defender Madjid Bougherra has returned to training after injury (hamstring) and looks likely to slot straight into the Rangers back line. Ricky Foster is available after being ineligible to play in the 1-0 win over parent club Aberdeen during the week, however Stevie Naismith is suspended.
The Buddies make the short trip to Ibrox without the banned Hugh Murray or Higdon. Paul McGowan returns after being ineligible to play against Celtic last week.
Prediction: Rangers 4 – 0 St Mirren
Inverness Caledonian Thistle v Heart of Midlothian
Hearts travel to the Highlands hoping for a repeat result of this fixture from last September, a 3-1 away win, which would make the Gorgie sides’s grip on third spot stronger. Inverness will look to upset the Hearts Europa League bound apple cart. Giving the teams immediately below them something to be concerned about and showing they may make life awkward come the split.
David Proctor and Dani Sanchez have been ruled out for Caley Thistle, although Graeme Shinnie could soon return to training after long-term injury.
Marius Zaliukas is available for Hearts with the defender currently in between bans. Currently on the physio’s table at Tynecastle are Rudi Skacel, Suso Santana, Eggert Jonsson, Darren Barr and Marion Kello. All of them are doubtful for the trip north. While Lee Wallace, Kevin Kyle and Calum Elliot are all definitely out.
Prediction: Inverness CT 1 – 1 Hearts
Hibernian v Hamilton Academical
Having only lost one game in nine, against Celtic at Parkhead, Hibs confidence certainly won’t be low, especially on the back of a difficult win in Aberdeen last weekend. The same can’t be said for Accies, at the moment Billy Reid’s side can’t buy a goal and with St Mirren having started to pick up some points in recent weeks they’re stranded at the foot of the SPL.
Hibs midfielder Matt Thornhill has been ruled out for the remainder of the season with a knee injury. The Easter Road outfit have no new injury problems. Kevin McCann and Graham Stack are long-term lay offs, though Danny Galbraith is nearing a return.
David Elebert is a doubt for Hamilton due to a hamstring problem, both Mark McLaughlin and Martin Canning will not make the game through injury. Twins Flavio and Marco Paixao were released from their contracts by Hamilton midweek so will, obviously, not feature.
Prediction: Hibs 2- 0 Hamilton Accies
Written by Liam Gormley