The games are coming thick and fast in the Scottish Premiership.
After a full programme of midweek fixtures, we’re braced for more drama and excitement as the season inches towards its conclusion.
Here, we preview all six Scottish Premiership games this weekend.
Hearts v Hibernian
It’s fifth against sixth at Tynecastle as both sides gear up for another intense entry into the Edinburgh derby’s history.
Hearts manager Craig Levein, boosted by confirmation that Livingston defender Craig Halkett has signed a pre-contract agreement, is expecting Uche Ikpeazu to feature following the striker’s head injury sustained as he scored the winner against Aberdeen.
The Jam Tarts are looking to stretch their unbeaten sequence in the rivalry to four games, with this season’s two previous encounters having seen a 1-0 Hearts win after October’s 0-0 draw.
Hibs have plenty of incentive, though. Three points will take them above their rivals and extend their unbeaten run to five games, a healthy dose of momentum heading into the post-split programme.
Celtic v Livingston
A professional 2-0 win over struggling St Mirren on Wednesday night has pushed Celtic even closer to retaining their title.
The Hoops certainly deserve credit for maintaining focus following Brendan Rodgers’ departure but appointing Neil Lennon – a man who knows how to guide Celtic over the finish line – was a shrewd move on their part.
Under the Northern Irishman’s watch, the Bhoys have opened up a commanding 13-point advantage on Rangers and will fully expect to see off Livingston and edge closer to the title.
Livingston, ninth in the table, held the leaders to a 0-0 draw last time out but lost the other Parkhead meeting 3-1. With Alfredo Morelos now suspended, Celtic striker Odsonne Edouard can narrow the gap on the Colombian in the race for the Golden Boot. The Frenchman was on the scoresheet in August’s win.
Dundee v Aberdeen
Two sides with different agendas, Dundee are fighting for their lives at the bottom of the table while Aberdeen hope to secure third place behind Celtic and Rangers.
Aberdeen have dominated this fixture in recent years, winning 16 out of the last 21, losing just once (in 2014’s cup encounter).
They have also registered a few emphatic victories over The Dee, including December’s 5-1 rout and a 7-0 demolition in 2017.
Northern Ireland international Niall McGinn is a man to watch. The 31-year-old winger has scored four goals in as many games and notched two assists in December’s win over Dundee.
Hamilton v St. Mirren
It’s been an up-and-down week for St. Mirren boss Oran Kearney. Buoyed by beating fellow strugglers Dundee last week, he was criticised after making wholesale changes for the defeat to Celtic on Wednesday.
Kearney defiantly defended his decision and can feel vindicated if they take points off Hamilton, who are one place and four points above the Buddies.
The Accies have dominated this season’s meetings, though, winning 3-1 and 3-0.
Simply put, it’s a massive game in the context of the relegation battle. Hamilton are reeling somewhat after shipping seven goals in their last two games. Can Kearney’s refreshed St. Mirren capitalise on their weariness and clinch a massive win?
Kilmarnock v St. Johnstone
St Johnstone’s top-six hopes are dead but they can stop Killie in their tracks with a win here.
Steve Clarke is a determined man though. Bottom when he took over in October 2017, the 55-year-old has completely transformed Kilmarnock and securing third spot behind the Old Firm duopoly would represent continued progress at the end of his first full season at the helm.
They have been impressive at the back recently, keeping clean sheets in four of their last five games. Hibs managed to shut them out on Wednesday, though.
November’s clash with St. Johnstone also finished as a scoreless draw. At that point, The Saints were on a run of five straight victories but have been more erratic of late, with two wins and three defeats in their last five outings.
Motherwell v Rangers
Should Celtic, as expected, see off Livingston on Saturday, Rangers will find themselves 16 points adrift of their rivals at the top.
Having been level following December’s Old Firm triumph, Steven Gerrard will certainly be disappointed with how his side have fallen away but all they can do now if finish strongly ahead of what is expected to be another busy transfer window.
And they responded well to last week’s derby defeat, beating Hearts 3-0 at Ibrox thanks to goals from Jermain Defoe, Connor Goldson and Scott Arfield.
The Gers are unbeaten in their last four against Motherwell, too, and obliterated Steve Robinson’s men 7-1 in November.
In fact, the last three meetings between these sides have produced 18 goals so we’re hoping for more goalmouth action at Fir Park.
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