Dundee v Aberdeen
John Brown insists closest rivals St Mirren now fear a genuine relegation battle. A few weeks ago that statement would’ve sounded far-fetched.
Some still think it sounds far-fetched, but after three successive league wins, closing the gap at the bottom from 15 points to just eight, Brown has certainly shaken up what had appeared a foregone conclusion.
Brown (known as ‘Bomber’) has been rewarded for turning round Dundee’s pitiful form with a permanent two-year contract at Dens Park, meaning he can now prepare for next season, when he’ll likely be aiming to guide the Dee back to the SPL.
Defence is where Brown has had the most profound impact, with Dundee conceding just twice in their last three league outings.
Dundee could already be relegated by the time they face Aberdeen on Sunday, with St Mirren playing on Saturday, but their fightback over the past three weeks proves nothing is finalized just yet. Dundee are available at 3.30 to record a fourth consecutive win.
Niall McGinn’s 20th goal of the season gave new Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes victory on his Pittodrie debut, but followed a similar template.
The Dons have looked rather solid for much of the season but have relied on the goals and creativity of McGinn in attack. There might be a new man in charge of the Dons but not much seems to have changed. Aberdeen are available at 2.60 to keep a third successive clean sheet.
Hearts v St Mirren
Last week’s 1-0 defeat to Dundee was Hearts’ third loss of the season to the SPL’s bottom side and demonstrated the scale of the job manager Gary Locke has on his hands to prepare for next season.
A lack of goals has dogged the Tynecastle side all season and now find themselves just three points off the SPL’s bottom two, who have been cut adrift for much of the season.
Of the Jambos ten league wins this season six have been 1-0 scorelines and Hearts are available at 7.50 to take that to seven against St Mirren.
St Mirren manager Danny Lennon insists he’s not concerned about being drawn into a relegation dogfight despite Dundee closing the gap at the foot of the SPL from 15 points to just eight.
The Paisley side are without a win in seven league games and now face two away fixtures before the end of the season, which will worry Lennon, as his team hasn’t won on the road in 2013.
St Mirren need just a point to secure their SPL status for next season but they are available at 3.10 to take all three points from Tynecastle.
Ross County v Celtic
By securing a 1-0 win over Dundee United last week, Ross County maintained their push for European football next season, which would represent a magnificent achievement for the Highland club.
In three games against the champions, County have lost just once, winning 3-2 in their last outing against Celtic.
Midfield duo Richard Brittain and Iain Vigurs have been crucial to the Staggies’ impressive debut season in Scotland’s top flight and will come up against the league’s best midfield combination, in Victor Wanyama, Joe Ledley and Kris Commons.
Derek Adams’ County side are available at 5.00 to be leading against Celtic at half time, like they were last time the Parkhead side journey north to Dingwall.
By the yardstick of season points tally, Celtic are the worst champions in SPL history. Neil Lennon’s side can only reach 81 points, with 84 points the previous worst total, and last week’s comprehensive 3-1 defeat to Motherwell demonstrated just how vulnerable the Hoops can be.
The goals of Gary Hooper and drive of Wanyama have at times carried Celtic through league games this season, although they have put a dismal March behind them by winning three of four games in April, a month that saw them wrap up the league title and seal a Scottish Cup final place.
Celtic are available at 1.63 to hit back from last week’s defeat by beating Ross County.
Back under 1.5 total goals between Dundee and Aberdeen at 3.05
Back Hearts and St Mirren to draw at 3.20
Back both Ross County and Celtic to score at 1.70