SPL briefing

Team news and statistics for the weekend's action in the Clydesdale Bank Scottish Premier League.

Last Updated: 06/04/13 at 13:40 Post Comment

Kris Commons: Could feature for Celtic

Kris Commons: Could feature for Celtic

Saturday, April 6

Celtic (1) v Hibernian (9)

Celtic winger Kris Commons will have the chance to prove his fitness ahead of the potential title clincher. Commons was carried off with an ankle knock last week but has a chance of featuring at Parkhead, while Mikael Lustig (knee) is expected to be back in contention.

Victor Wanyama is available, with an appeal over his red card not heard until next week, but Scott Brown (abductor problem), Adam Matthews (hamstring) and James Forrest (back) are set to remain on the sidelines.

Hibernian defender Paul Hanlon has fully recovered from a hip injury and full-back Alan Maybury returns from suspension.

Last season: Hibernian 0 Celtic 5, Celtic 0 Hibernian 0, Hibernian 0 Celtic 2.

Last five league matches: Celtic W L L W D; Hibernian D D D L L

Top scorers (all competitions): Gary Hooper (Celtic) 26; Leigh Griffiths (Hibernian) 23.

Referee: John Beaton (Scotland).

Dundee Utd (8) v Aberdeen (7)

United will be without Brian McLean after the defender twisted his knee against St Johnstone. Stuart Armstrong is banned after his red card at McDiarmid Park but midfield playmaker John Rankin returns from suspension.

Defender Gary Mackay-Steven is doubtful after missing Monday's draw with a hamstring injury, while striker Johnny Russell (broken leg) and defender Gavin Gunning (knee) remain on the sidelines.

Aberdeen hope to have Gary Naysmith and Jonny Hayes in their squad - Hayes went off with a swollen knee against Hearts while Naysmith hopes to return from injury. Isaac Osbourne, Andrew Considine, Stephen Hughes and Chris Clark remain out.

Last season: Aberdeen 3 Dundee Utd 1, Dundee Utd 1 Aberdeen 2, Aberdeen 3 Dundee Utd 1.

Last five league matches: Dundee Utd D D D D D; Aberdeen D L D L W.

Top scorers (all competitions): Johnny Russell (Dundee Utd) 20; Niall McGinn (Aberdeen) 19.

Referee: Craig Thomson (Scotland).

Hearts (11) v Ross County (4)

Darren Barr's ongoing ankle problem means he is unlikely to feature for Hearts. The former Falkirk player missed last week's 2-0 defeat against Aberdeen and manager Gary Locke is of a mind to allow Barr more time to shake off the injury. Defender Jamie Hamill could start for the first time in 11 months after recovering from a knee operation.

Iain Vigurs and Sam Morrow are both injury doubts for Ross County, but winger Ivan Sproule has been passed fit to come back into the squad and Stuart Kettlewell returns from suspension. Paul Gallacher comes into the squad after joining County after being made redundant by Dunfermline.

Last season: No corresponding fixture.

Last five league matches: Hearts L L W D L; Ross County W D W L L.

Top scorers (all competitions): John Sutton (Hearts) 7; Richard Brittain & Iain Vigurs (Ross County) 8.

Referee: Alan Muir (Scotland).

Kilmarnock (6) v Dundee (12)

Killie have a fitness doubt over forward Rory McKenzie as they look to secure their top-six place. Rory McKeown has gone for a scan on his knee injury and will still be missing, while James Dayton (ribs) and Manuel Pascali (hamstring) are out for the season.

Dundee defender Gary Irvine serves the second game of his two-match ban following his red card in the 1-1 derby draw with Dundee United and will miss out. Stephen O'Donnell (knee) and Jamie McCluskey (Achilles) are still out while goalkeeper Rab Douglas is carrying a thigh injury.

Last season: No corresponding fixture.

Last five league matches: Kilmarnock D D L W D; Dundee D W D D L.

Top scorers: Paul Heffernan (Kilmarnock) 12; Andrew Barrowman (Dundee) 14.

Referee: Iain Brines (Scotland).

Motherwell (2) v St Mirren (10)

Motherwell manager Stuart McCall has a full squad to select from. Adam Cummins was sent off on under-20s duty, but the suspension does not affect him appearing for the seniors.

St Mirren forward Esmael Goncalves is suspended - the on-loan Portuguese accepted a two-match ban for simulation over the penalty that earned a point against Celtic. Winger Gary Teale has recovered from the tight muscle that ended his action in the draw at Kilmarnock but long-term absentees Thomas Reilly, David Barron and Darren McGregor remain out of contention.

Last season: St Mirren 0 Motherwell 0, Motherwell 1 St Mirren 1, St Mirren 0 Motherwell 1.

Last five league matches: Motherwell W W D W W; St Mirren W L D D D.

Top scorers (all competitions): Michael Higdon (Motherwell) 22; Steven Thompson (St Mirren) 15.

Referee: Brian Colvin (Scotland).


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Readers' Comments

W

e have the personnel. The trick is keeping them fit. Carrick and Blind have missed large chunks of the season, while the defence has been one muddled mess of intermittent stooges, all coming and going at various intervals thus far. We may be just short of title winning quality, but we're half way through. An injury crisis to either of the top two could change things. Optimistic, yes, but not unrealistic.

HarryBoulton
One Point And One Conclusion For United

P

arish is the man to blame for this shambles. Pulis must be chuckling into his left over turkey sandwich. I pray this doesn't mean the Neil Warnock media machine will kick in now and he'll be back on the telly box.

magicfuller
Warnock sacked by Palace

W

e almost found a new way to lose, just when I thought it was getting boring Giroud does that. Although Arsenal are deservedly called 'soft' the entire midfield is out injured. Still must admit MU are managing to win despite a similar raft of absentees. Think the Gunners have good players but poorly coached.

gettalong
Wenger: Giroud deserved red

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