CELTIC vs. ROSS COUNTY
The theory goes that now that Celtic have European aspirations set to the back of their mind until February at least, they should put some distance between them and the chasers in the SPL table.
However, last time out against Ross County the Hoops could only claim a point, snatching a stoppage time equalizer having found themselves lucky to concede only one in Dingwall. As has often been the case with the league champions this season, this rather underwhelming display followed a night of European glory during the week. County have no such virtue this time.
The Parkhead side’s win over St Mirren last week was somewhat routine, emerging 2-0 victors thanks to goals from Victor Wanyama and Gary Hooper, two players who Celtic have relied on domestically this season. The Hoops are available at 8.00 to register a 3-0 win over Ross County.
Despite a generally good season so far Ross County are without a win in their last nine games and have slowly slumped down the table, closer to bottom side Dundee. Manager Derek Adams labeled last week’s draw against their fellow promoted team as their worst performance of the season. But the Staggies can take encouragement from their aforementioned display against Celtic earlier this year.
Ross County are available at 7.00 to record a second successive draw against the table toppers this season.
HEARTS vs. DUNDEE UNITED
It’s little wonder Hearts manager John McGlynn was visibly disappointed when reflecting on his side’s 2-2 draw with St Johnstone last week. Much maligned, even by McGlynn himself, the Jambos’ anemic attack has hindered their progress, yet in Perth they demonstrated creativity and imagination not seen in maroon this season.
However, it was Hearts’ defence that let McGlynn down this time, allowing Saints to come from behind twice to claim a point.
McGlynn addressed his side’s lack of attacking potency directly by fielding three forwards, Callum Paterson, Gordon Smith and John Sutton, against St Johnstone. Should he take the same approach this week it will be interesting to note how the Hearts frontline fares. Over 3.5 total goals between the Tynecastle side and Dundee United is available at 3.90.
Dundee United themselves are in terrific goalscoring form too, netting 12 times in their three fixtures this month. However, their four-goal tally against Inverness last week was to be in vain, as they were forced to settle for a point.
Despite this manager Peter Houston will have been encouraging by the performance of striker Jon Daly, who bagged a brace after a rather barren couple of months. The Tangerines’ scoring streak means they represent a solid bet to score against Hearts at 1.38.
INVERNESS vs. DUNDEE
It had looked like Inverness’ incredible league run was coming to an end. Terry Butcher’s men had fallen behind at Dundee United, conceding three goals in just eight minutes.
But by full time Caley Thistle were entitled to feel aggrieved. They’d come within minutes, and a debatable penalty decision, of completing the most remarkable turnaround in the SPL this season. The Highland side were forced to settle for a 4-4 draw.
Billy McKay continued his sensation scoring streak, netting a hat-trick last week to take his tally to 10 goals in his last six league games, with Inverness demonstrating the sort of grit that will help them maintain their impressive form. They are available at 9.50 to record a 2-0 win over Dundee.
Dundee might not be demonstrating the sort of form being exhibited by their opponents on Saturday, but Barry Smith’s men are at least giving themselves a fighting chance of avoiding relegation by staying in touch with the rest of the league.
Last week’s draw with Ross County kept the distance between the two teams at the foot of the SPL at five points, but Smith confesses it’s time for the Dark Blues to start making up that gap. Dundee are available at 5.75 to record their fourth victory of the season.
Back Celtic to beat Ross County 2-0 at 6.75.
Back Hearts to score in both halves against Dundee United at 3.90.
Back Inverness to be beating Dundee at half-time at 2.05.