Celtic v Inverness
Celtic’s Hampden hoodoo under Neil Lennon was broken last week, overcoming Dundee United 4-3 after extra time in the Scottish Cup semi-final. But despite coming out on top at the national stadium it was something of a similar tale for the SPL table-toppers.
Having conceded ten goals in their last five games Celtic’s defensive unpredictability remains an in issue for manager Lennon, but in scoring 14 goals in reply it would appear the Hoops’ attacking potency is cancelling out the uncertainty at the back. But for how long can that continue?
Three of Celtic’s last five games have seen five or more goals and over 4.5 total goals between the Hoops and Inverness is available at 4.60.
For Inverness, the hunt for that coveted second place in the SPL table is still on, with just three points separating Terry Butcher’s side and Motherwell.
Caley Thistle are unbeaten in their last seven games, but having recorded four draws in those games Butcher will need to turn those points into three points if they are to truly challenge Motherwell.
Billy McKay could be crucial to Inverness’ second place aspirations, but the Northern Irish striker has found the net just three times in his last 11 appearances. That has had an impact on his side’s attacking form, as Caley Thistle have scored more than two goals in just one of their last 13 fixtures. Inverness are available at 1.60 to find the net against the SPL table-toppers.
Dundee United v Motherwell
Jackie McNamara’s Dundee United side might’ve been on the wrong end of the most enthralling Scottish Cup semi-final in recent memory but the 4-3 defeat after extra time had demonstrated just how dangerous the Tangerines are right now.
After securing a top half finish in stoppage time against Aberdeen the week before confidence is running high at Tannadice, particularly in front of goal, with Jon Daly and Gary Mackay-Steven in top form.
Last week’s Scottish Cup semi-final defeat to Celtic was only the second time United have lost in 12 games under new manager McNamara (incidentally both defeats have been to Celtic).
However, having conceded ten goals in just two games against Celtic United’s defensive record will be of concern to McNamara, although a 1-0 win at Fir Park in their last outing against Motherwell provides encouragement. Dundee United are available at 11.00 to record a second successive 1-0 win over second place Motherwell.
Ten points separate United and Motherwell in the SPL table but given the former’s run of form the difference on the pitch will likely appear less. Stuart McCall’s side are in pole position to secure the SPL’s second spot and are unbeaten in their last six games, including a 2-1 win over Celtic in February.
The addition of James McFadden on a free transfer has given the Steelmen’s frontline some extra quality in the home stretch, with the former Scotland international netting twice in his last three appearances.
Motherwell are available at 2.50 to continue their good run of form and beat Dundee United at Tannadice.
Kilmarnock v Hearts
Kenny Shiels accepted responsibility for Kilmarnock’s failure to secure a top half finish despite only needing three points from their last three games, something they failed to achieve.
Indeed Killie’s form has taken something of a downturn of late, taking three points in just one of their last seven games. Suspensions and injuries to strikers Cillian Sheridan and Paul Heffernan have had an impact on the Rugby Park club’s goal tally, despite the return of Kris Boyd. Kilmarnock are available at 2.75 to record a victory over Hearts.
No matter what happens between now and the end of the season Hearts’ campaign has been a disappointment. The club has had to deal with off the pitch, financial uncertainty but after keeping hold of much of last season’s Scottish Cup winning team, the Jambos were expected to be a certainty for the SPL’s top half. Instead they are slumped down in the tenth position.
The 4-2 win over Ross County two weeks ago demonstrated just how dangerous Gary Locke’s side could be. On loan Liverpool striker Michael Ngoo in particular has the potential to be one of the SPL’s top strikers, with Danny Wilson (also on loan from Liverpool) one of the league’s brightest defensive prospects. Hearts are available at 3.05 to keep a clean sheet against Kilmarnock.
Back Celtic to score in both halves against Inverness at 2.00
Back Dundee United to beat Motherwell at 2.65
Back Kilmarnock to beat Hearts at 2.75