Celtic v Hibernian
Celtic’s poor post-Champions League form continued with a 1-1 draw against St Mirren on Sunday but their laboured stroll to regaining their SPL crown looks unlikely to be uninterrupted.
The Hoops’ backline has been decidedly shaky since the European exit to Juventus at the start of March, conceding seven in their last three league fixtures.
An equally shaky performance by referee Bobby Madden might’ve somewhat contributed to that against St Mirren, but Celtic’s defensive uncertainty must concern manager Neil Lennon.
That lack of defensive resolution has been somewhat offset by Celtic’s obvious firepower in attack, but how long can they continue to be so slack at the back before serious questions are asked of Lennon’s leadership? Celtic are available at 1.86 to keep their first clean sheet in five league games.
For Hibernian, this season looks set for a disappointing conclusion.
Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at home to Inverness saw Pat Fenlon’s side drop out the top six for the first time since the opening weekend of the season and with an away trip to table-toppers Celtic their final outing before the split, it appears highly unlikely they’ll regain their top six spot.
Fenlon has all but admitted focus will now turn to keeping striker Leigh Griffiths, who scored his 23rd goal of the season in the defeat to Caley Thistle.
Hibs have become reliant on the on loan Wolves striker this season and have struggled to find the net when Griffiths can’t.
However, given Celtic’s recent poor defensive record, Fenlon’s side should be confident that they can score against the SPL champions-elect and are available at 1.78 to do so.
Dundee United v Aberdeen
A win for Jackie McNamara’s Dundee United side would help their efforts to finish in the SPL top half for the sixth successive year, but Monday’s 1-1 draw with St Johnstone means their fate now lies in the results of others around them.
United must now hope current sixth place side Kilmarnock fail to win against Dundee, as well as winning their own game at home to Aberdeen, who will also be aiming for the top half. Dundee United are available at 2.45 to get the win that could secure them a top half finish.
Last week’s 2-0 win over Hearts means Dons manager Craig Brown can retire from football by handing a top six side over to his successor Derek McInnes next week, should they win against United and Killie draw or lose to Dundee.
Niall McGinn’s double against the Edinburgh side saw a timely return to the form for the Northern Irishman, who hadn’t found the net in his last five SPL games. McGinn now has 20 goals for the season, a tally that would’ve seemed unlikely at the start of the season.
Aberdeen have been leading in half time in three of their last four league games and are available at 3.30 to extend that trend to four out of five.
Kilmarnock v Dundee
With Kilmarnock needing a win to secure their place in the top half, a fixture against the SPL’s bottom side Dundee presents the perfect opportunity to do so.
Saturday’s impressive 1-0 win away to Ross County saw Kris Boyd handed his first start for Killie since rejoining the club, although it was keeper Cammy Bell who took the man of the match honours, keeping a frustrated County attack at bay for much of the match.
Bell is available at 2.30 to keep another clean sheet, although given Dundee’s poor record this season that might not be quite as impressive achievement as his County clean sheet was.
Dundee’s season effectively ended some time ago, with the slide towards an immediate return to the First Division showing no signs of slowing.
Saturday’s 3-0 defeat to Motherwell was a comprehensive one but it was their first defeat in four league fixtures, as interim manager John Brown attempts to solidify a side that have conceded more goals than anyone else in the league.
The Dens Park side are already preparing for next season in the second tier, even if that future doesn’t include interim boss Brown.
The former Rangers player has also sparked Dundee attacker John Baird into life since taking over and having signed Andrew Barrowman from administration-hit Dunfermline during the week. The Dee are available at 1.53 to find the net against Kilmarnock.
Back Celtic to beat Hibernian 2-1 at 8.50
Back Dundee United and Aberdeen to draw at 3.30
Back under 1.5 total goals between Kilmarnock and Dundee at 3.60