St Johnstone v Celtic
Celtic travel to St.Johnstone for the early afternoon kick off, with their hosts having a case of Delhi Belly. Up to seven first team players have been struck down with the bug and manager Steve Lomas is keeping his fingers crossed that they can recover in time for the clash.
Defender Callum Davidson has a slight knock and will be assessed this morning to see if he will be match fit.
Celtic skipper Scott Brown is set to make his return to the Celtic side and make his first start of the season after being out for two weeks through injury. Brown’s return coincides with that of Charlie Mulgrew’s who has recovered from an Achilles injury.
However, Greek striker Georgious Samaras is out with ligament damage in his elbow picked up on international duty with Greece.
New bhoys Lassad Nouioui, Miku and goalkeeper Lubos Kamenar are in contention for a place in the squad, but defender Efe Ambrose has yet to return from international duty with Nigeria.
St Johnstone (from): Mannus, C Davidson, Wright, MacKay, Anderson, Cregg, Pawlett, Craig, M Davidson, Vine, Tade, Hasselbaink, Higgins, Adams, Miller, Caddis, Tuffey, Rodger.
Celtic (from): Forster, Matthews, Lustig, Wilson, Mulgrew, Izaguirre, Rogne, Forrest, Commons, Brown, Wanyama, Twardzik, McCourt, Hooper, Keatings, Lassad, Miku, Kamenar, Zaluska, Chalmers, Watt, George.
Our betting partner, Ladrbrokes, are offering St.Johnstone to win the game at 7/1 while Celtic are favourites to secure all three points with odds of 2/5. While the draw is at 10/3.
Prediction: Despite Celtic having one eye on the midweek champions league clash against Benfica, Celtic should still have too much in the tank for a St.Johnstone side that has been in poor form this season, and the case of Delhi Belly will make matters worse for the Perth side. I expect Celtic to pick up all three points. St.Johnstone 0-3 Celtic.
Dundee v Motherwell
Dundee play host to Motherwell at Dens Park, but the Dundee side are without Davide Grassi after he underwent surgery on his knee that will sideline him for six weeks. Left back Brian Easton and midfielder Mark Kerr are in contention to secure their debuts after joining the club.
However, Dundee have a number of players out through injury: Skipper Stephen O’Donnell and Nicky Riley (hamstring), Kevin McBride (foot), Carl Finnigan (knee), Mark Stewart (knee), and Jamie McCluskey (Achilles).
Motherwell have close to a full squad to choose for the game. Stevie Hammell and Simon Ramsden return from injury and Shaun Hutchinson is back from suspension. One player missing is Steven Saunders as he continues to recover from knee surgery.
Dundee (from): Douglas, McGregor, Lockwood, Toshney, Easton, Gallagher, Irvine, Webster, Conroy, McAlister, Baird, McIntosh, Kerr, Davidson, Reid, Cavanagh, Milne, Boyle, Nish.
Motherwell (from): Randolph, Kerr, Cummins, Hutchinson, Page, Hammell, Francis-Angol, Hateley, Ramsden, Law, Lasley, Hetherington, Carswell, Humphrey, Daley, Murphy, Ojamaa, Higdon, McHugh, Hollis.
Ladbrokes are offering 5/2 odds on a Dundee win, while Motherwell are 11/10 for the victory. The draw sits at 9/4.
Prediction: Last week I went with my heart as Scotland took on Serbia, and that counted for very little. So today I am going with my gut and I cannot see anything other than a score draw between the two sides. 1-1.
Hibernian v Kilmarnock
Hibs new loan signing from Man City defender Ryan McGivern could make his debut against Kilmarnock this afternoon. Despite a hectic international schedule for midfielder Jorge Claros, the Honduran could also take his place within the line-up. The latest player linked with a move to Easter Road – Tom Taiwo is highly unlikely to feature for Pat Fenlon’s side.
Former Celtic and St.Johnstone striker Cillian Sheridan could make his Killie debut after he was signed following a successful trial period. Gary Harkins also returns to the fold following a facial injury.
However, Killie still have a number of players still sidelined: Jereom Tesselaar (hamstring), Cammy Bell (wrist), Garry Hay (knee) and Paul Heffernan (collarbone).
Hibernian (from): Williams, Antell, Grant, Clancy, Booth, Hanlon, McPake, McGivern, Stephens, Kujabi, Smith, Claros, Cairney, Wotherspoon, Sproule, Stanton, Griffiths, Doyle, Caldwell, Maybury, Deegan, Kuqi, Stevenson.
Kilmarnock (from): Letheren, Fowler, O’Leary, Nelson, Kelly, Johnson, Pascali, Racchi, Borja, Winchester, McKenzie, Jaakkola, Gros, Dayton, Boulding, Sheridan, Harkins, O’Hara.
Betting partners Ladbrokes are giving odds of 6/5 for Hibs to pick up all three points at home, while the visitors are 23/10 to secure the win. The same odds of 23/10 are also being offered for a draw.
Prediction: Given Hibs’ start to the season I can see Pat Fenlon’s side picking up three points against Kenny Shiels’ side although the arrival of Sheridan, for the Rugby Park side could prove pivotal also. However, putting my money on this game and I would go for a 2-1 win for Hibernian.
Inverness CT v Aberdeen
Inverness, who have been out of sorts this season, defender Simon King is a doubt for the game with an ankle injury but will be given a fitness test ahead of the game. However, Nick Ross (shoulder) and Chris Hogg (knee) are both still out through injury.
Former Celtic midfielder Niall McGinn returns to the Aberdeen squad, following an ankle injury picked up in only his second game for the North East side. But, Gary Naysmith (hamstring) and Rob Milsom (knee) are still out.
Inverness (from): Esson, Meekings, Raven, Warren, G Shinnie, Tudur Jones, Morrison, A Shinnie, Pepper, Draper, Foran, Doran, Sutherland, McKay, King, Laing, Polworth, Reguero.
Aberdeen (from): Langfield, Brown, Foster, Considine, Anderson, Robertson, Jack, Hughes, Rae, Vernon, Fallon, Hayes, Osbourne, Megginson, Magennis, Fraser, Smith, Low, McGinn, Reynolds.
Ladbrokes are offering a draw at 23/10, while an Aberdeen victory comes in at 6/4. Inverness have been given odds of 7/4 to pick up all three points.
Prediction: This has a draw written all over it, but its a case of will there be goals or will it be a bore no score draw. i will have to go for the latter 0-0.
St Mirren v Hearts
St.Mirren are sweating over the fitness of Kenny McLean and Paul Dummet ahead of Hearts’ visit, as the pair struggle with knocks. Darren McGregor and Grant Adam both remain on the sidelines with long term injuries.
Ryan Stevenson could make his first Hearts start since returning to Tynecastle during the summer transfer window – following the departure of David Templeton to Third Division side Rangers.
Manager John McGlynn welcomes back defenders Andy Webster, Marius Zaliukas and Ryan McGowan to the side following the international break, with no ill effects.
St Mirren (from): Samson, Mair, van Zanten, Barron, McAusland, Teale, Imrie, Goodwin, McGowan, Carey, McLean, Guy, Robertson, Thompson, Reilly, Dummett, Parkin, Smith.
Hearts (from): MacDonald, R McGowan, Webster, Zaliukas, Grainger, Paterson, Barr, Taouil, Novikovas, Carrick, Sutton, Driver, Hamilton, Robinson, Holt, D McGowan, McHattie, Stevenson, Enckelman.
Hearts have odds of 6/4 on them to secure all three points, while St.Mirren are 9/5 to pick up a win. While the draw is seeing odds of 9/4 placed on it.
Prediction: Hearts have been pretty up and down so far this season, despite what will be a tough test for them I have to place my money on Hearts to pick up all three points. 2-0 to Hearts.
Annan Athletic v Rangers
Rangers travel to Dumfries to face Annan Athletic in the Third Division this afternoon, in what will be another tough test for a side that has not travelled well this season. At home Rangers steamroll past the sides, but away from home they struggle and have picked up two draws on the road to Peterhead and then Berwick Rangers.
One player who has helped the Third Division new boys find the back of the net is youngster Andrew Little, however the Ibrox side have been dealt a blow with the news that the striker is out for the ‘foreseeable future’ after picking up a possible stress fracture to his foot, while on international duty with Northern Ireland.
New signing Anestis Argyriou is also missing to trip to Galabank, after picking up a hamstring injury.
Rangers (from): Alexander, Cribari, Wallace, Perry, MacLeod, Shiels, Black, Faure, McCulloch, Templeton, Kyle, McKay, Crawford, Gallacher, Stella, Hegarty, Naismith, Wiktorski.
Ladbrokes are giving Annan Athletic odds of 12/1 to beat Rangers, while Rangers are 1/7 to beat Annan and the draw is at 6/1. Worth a cheeky punt at least.
Prediction: While my allegiances are well-known and they are not with the light blue of Rangers, the Ibrox side SHOULD beat Anna. But with the game at Galabank and with Annan seeing this as the biggest game in their history – they would get a huge boost for the game. So with my spare pound I am having a wee bit of action for the draw at 6/1. 1-1.
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