Sky Sports’ Andy Walker offers his predictions as we head into another weekend of Scottish Premiership action including Celtic vs Aberdeen.
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Celtic vs Aberdeen – Saturday, 3 p.m.
It had been inevitable for some time now, Neil Lennon would step down as manager given Celtic’s lack of credible title challenge this season. Last weekend’s loss to Ross County for the second time this season was the last straw for majority shareholder Dermot Desmond and his board of directors.
John Kennedy has now been put in charge temporarily and it will be interesting to see what players come up with for him compared to Lennon. I imagine he will find an indisputable strike partner for Odsonne Edouard. Albian Ajeti, Leigh Griffiths and Patrik Klimala were all on the bench in the Highlands and Kennedy will likely look to one of them to share responsibility for goals.
David Turnbull scored the only goal of the game in the previous meeting last week and it was a blessing to Derek McInnes that Calum Hendry finally netted a goal for Aberdeen in last weekend’s 1-0 home win. on Kilmarnock. Sadly, he had to replace injured Fraser Hornby, who looks to miss the rest of the season.
Andy Walker’s prediction: 2-0
Hibernian vs Motherwell – Saturday, 3 p.m.
Finishing in third place behind Celtic and Rangers is now very firmly in Hibernian’s eyes with their recent form good enough to open a four-point gap between them and Aberdeen.
Even without the awesome Kevin Nisbet in recent weeks, Jack Ross has seen his team play a lot of good football with new signing Chris Cadden and Jackson Irvine performing very well.
On the other hand, Motherwell still has some work to do to avoid getting sucked into the two lower places. A point away at St Mirren in the middle of the week stopped the rot but Ross County winning an unexpected three points against Celtic really put the cat among the pigeons at the foot of the table.
In addition to praying that a few of his key players will return from injury soon, Graham Alexander is hoping the clean sheet at Paisley becomes the norm, his team have given so many soft goals in recent weeks. Devante Cole and Tony Watt have turned off the boil, but if they start firing again, Motherwell should be well away from danger.
Andy Walker’s prediction: 2-1
Kilmarnock vs Dundee United – Saturday, 3 p.m.
These are worrying times for Kilmarnock. Losing their last eight games, they are now tied on points with Hamilton. Bringing in Tommy Wright to succeed Alex Dyer was supposed to be the spark that kept them out of danger, but in his three games in charge they lost them all and didn’t score a goal.
An uninterrupted 28-year spell in Scottish football’s top flight is in serious jeopardy. So it’s no wonder everyone expects Kyle Lafferty’s recent signing to get the goals to keep them out of danger, but they won’t find it easy against Micky Mellon’s Dundee United.
The promoted team intend to finish in the top half of the table and, aside from their 4-1 loss to Rangers last weekend, their previous form has seen them take maximum points in games. against Ross County and Livingston. Winning away has been a big deal for United, they can’t afford to lose this one if they are to keep the pressure on Livingston and St Mirren.
Andy Walker’s prediction: 1-1
St Mirren vs Ross County – Saturday, 3 p.m.
I still think it’s a problem for the teams at the bottom of the table to get some consistency after a high level result.
Ross County players were on a very high – as they were entitled to be – after their stunning 1-0 win over Celtic last Sunday, but it’s still difficult to follow that up with another.
St Mirren must see this home clash as a great opportunity to get points on the board for his ambitions to finish in the top half of the table. Jim Goodwin will feel like their recent performances have earned more points – they’ve drawn in the last four games – but it’s definitely the one they’re capable of winning.
I spoke to John Hughes before and after the Celtic game and he was happy with what his players gave him, but like everyone at the table he is looking for more quality, consistency and a bit of luck. Jordan White brilliantly led the line against Celtic, can he be their hero again?
Andy Walker’s prediction: 1-0