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SPL Weekend Preview – 13th/14th August 2011

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The fourth week of fixtures in the Scottish Premier League will see all sides compete in the same weekend for the only the second time this season. Both the Glasgow sides will compete on the Saturday, with Kilmarnock and Hibs playing in the Sunday game on ESPN. Starting with the Saturday fixtures here is a run down of this weeks SPL previews.

Saturday Fixtures:

Inverness vs. Rangers – 12:45

Rangers make the tricky trip to the North to take on Inverness in what should be a close contest. Inverness have started the season playing well but not getting the points or goals that their play deserves. Rangers meanwhile are unbeaten and will be hoping to keep that run going with a win at Inverness. However, Inverness always raise their game when the Old Firm come calling and this one will be tighter than many people may be expecting. Rangers should still sneak it though.

Prediction: Inverness 2 – 3 Rangers

Celtic vs. Dundee United – 15:00

Celtic are the only team with a flawless record in the Scottish Premier League at this early stage, with two wins from two games. Dundee United meanwhile have an unbeaten run of two draws and one win, so something will have to give in this fixture. United are still looking for their perfect strike partnership, and the injury to Scott Severin is a major blow for United. Celtic are still to concede a goal, however they have concerns over midfield talisman Beram Kayal who
suffered an ankle injury playing for Israel in midweek, while their hunt for a ‘keeper continues. Celtic to win by a two goal margin seems the likely outcome though.

Prediction: Celtic 3 – 1 Dundee United

Hearts vs. Aberdeen – 15:00

The only fixture this week which features two teams that have already suffered a defeat in this year’s campaign. Hearts getting beat from Dundee United and Aberdeen getting defeated by St.Mirren. Both teams will be looking to kickstart their seasons and start climbing the table. Mehdi Taouil and Andy Webster are likely to miss the game for Hearts, while Aberdeen are waiting to see whether Fraser Fyvie and Chris Clark are match fit to feature at Tynecastle. Both teams are
very goal shy with the Dons will be looking for their first goal of the season, while Hearts have only scored one goal. A low scoring draw is the reasonable assumption.

Prediction: Hearts 1 – 1 Aberdeen

St. Johnstone vs. Dunfermline – 15:00

Francisco Sandaza is likely to get his first start for his new club St. Johnstone against newly promoted Dunfermline. The Saints have been needing a goal scorer over the last few matches, and they hope the former Dundee United striker will be that man. Dunfermline have had a decent start to the season, with two draws from two games. However, these games were against teams which finished bottom six last season in Inverness and St. Mirren and they will have to start
picking up wins against teams around their level before they start facing the bigger teams in the SPL. St. Johnstone are another of these bottom six teams, however, I still wouldn’t bet on the Pars getting that victory.

Prediction: St. Johnstone 2 – 2 Dunfermline

St. Mirren vs. Motherwell – 15:00

The two surprise packages of the SPL thus far with St. Mirren playing some sublime football while Motherwell sit at the top of the table with seven points from three matches. Nigel Hasselbaink is missing for the Buddies after losing his appeal against his dismissal last week, while Steven Saunders misses out for Well with an injury to his Achilles tendon. While St. Mirren have been playing very well, Motherwell have been winning matches by catching the
opposition on the counter attack. They also managed to subdue Kilmarnock in their second fixture of the season, and while St. Mirren are higher in the table than Killie, Killie are probably the better passing side. Motherwell can catch St. Mirren out and should take the three points.

Prediction: St. Mirren 1 – 2 Motherwell

Sunday Fixtures

Kilmarnock vs. Hibs – 12:15

Osasuna striker, Jorge Galan finally received international clearance a couple of hours ago and goes straight into the side for Killie’s game against Hibs. The Spanish Under 20 Internationalist joins on a season long loan from the La Liga side and will add to the firepower already at Killie. Hibs may also have a few new faces in their side, with Junior Agogo and Isaiah Osbourne likely to play some part. Both teams are likely to get the ball down and the crowd are sure to be entertained by a free-flowing match. Scoring goals has been a problem for both sides in recent matches, and both managers will be hopeful that their new signings will make the difference.

Prediction: Kilmarnock 2 – 1 Hibs

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