DUNDEE UNITED v HEARTS
As managerial introductions go, a 3-0 win over Rangers in front of your own fans might be as good as it gets. Jackie McNamara might have only had a couple of days with his new Dundee United side but his impact was devastating, as the Tangerines blowed away the Ibrox side.
Once again United’s attacking trio of Jon Daly, Gary Mackay-Steven and Johnny Russell demonstrated why they are regarded as three of the best players in their positions in Scotland, with Russell bagging a brace and Daly scoring too.
If United are claim their first point against Hearts this season, these three are likely to be key. Dundee United are available at 2.30, making them favourites, to take the points.
Hearts have followed up their own cup success (reaching the League Cup final) with a win over Dundee and a draw against Ross County last week. This has dragged them back into contention for a top-half spot ahead of the league split.
The Jambos came out on top the last time the two sides met in December, as they also did in September when they came away from Tannadice with a 3-0 win. A cup win on penalties over the Tangerines sandwiched in between those two games, gives Hearts a significant psychological edge.
They are available at 30.00 to repeat the 3-0 win they recorded over United earlier in the season.
HIBERNIAN v ST JOHNSTONE
Gary Deegan’s sensational 25-yard strike gave Hibs a win over Aberdeen last week, sending the Easter Road side into the last eight of the Scottish Cup.
However, Pat Fenlon’s side are without a league win in 2013, with their 1-0 win over Celtic five fixtures ago the last time they collected three points in the SPL.
With Leigh Griffiths’s form cooling since he extended his loan spell at the club, Hibs have struggled for goals since the new year, netting just twice in five games.
Conversely Hibs have conceded just two goals in their last six games and are available at 2.95 to keep another clean sheet against St Johnstone.
Despite suffering a cup defeat at St Mirren last week, St Johnstone have climbed up the league table without so much as a murmur.
Manager Steve Lomas says he likes the lack of attention his side have received for their upturn of form, although if they can overcome Hibs on Monday night and lift themselves into the top four, it might be more difficult for the Perth side to fly under the radar.
Saints have scored six times in their last three league games with Gregory Tade and Rowan Vine providing a physical presence in attack, St Johnstone so often lacked last season. Saints are available at 2.75 to record a third win in four matches.
INVERNESS v CELTIC
On the most part Inverness and their manager Terry Butcher have endured a miserable 2013. Having lifted themselves into second spot in the SPL, Caley Thistle have lost two of their last three league fixtures and suffered heartbreak as Hearts knocked them out of the League Cup semi-finals on penalties.
Nonetheless, Inverness still hold second spot in the league and having already defeated champions Celtic this season, Butcher’s men can take some encouragement ahead of their clash with the Hoops. Inverness are available at 6.00 to record another win over Celtic.
Celtic could be forgiven if their minds are elsewhere as they head north. Their Champions League last-16 tie against Italian giants Juventus looms, as does the significant financial windfall if they were to pull off the unlikely and progress to the quarter-finals.
With a 15-point lead at the top of the table, Neil Lennon may decide to rest a number of key players, with Gary Hooper and Victor Wanyama likely to be sidelined if he does. Even so, the Hoops should still have enough quality to see off Caley Thistle and are available at 2.00 to be winning at half-time.
Back a draw between Dundee United and Hearts at 3.25
Back both Inverness and Celtic to score at 1.55
Back under 1.5 total goals between Hibernian and St Johnstone at 3.00