Scottish Premiership briefing

Team news, statistics and our verdict for the Boxing Day action in the Scottish Premiership.

Last Updated: 24/12/13 at 15:49 Post Comment

Dundee United take on St Mirren

Dundee United take on St Mirren

Thursday, December 26

Aberdeen v Motherwell

Aberdeen are without three defenders for their Boxing Day clash. Mark Reynolds suffered a nasty facial cut during the 4-3 win over Inverness but he will return for the visit of Ross County on Sunday. Reynolds joins Andrew Considine (calf) and Clark Robertson (knee) on the sidelines.

Motherwell goalkeeper Gunnar Nielsen is back in the squad following a thigh injury and subsequent illness. Fellow goalkeeper Lee Hollis (ankle) and striker Lee Erwin (knee) remain on the sidelines.

Last season: Aberdeen 0 Motherwell 0, Motherwell 4 Aberdeen 1, Aberdeen 3 Motherwell 3

Last five league matches: Aberdeen L L W W W; Motherwell L W L W W

Top scorers: Niall McGinn (Aberdeen) 9; John Sutton (Motherwell) 8

Referee: Kevin Clancy (Scotland).

Our verdict: Aberdeen 1 Motherwell 0

Hearts v Kilmarnock

Hearts will not be able to fill their bench as their thin squad continues to be pushed to the limit. Gary Oliver (ankle), Ryan Stevenson (hamstring), Mark Ridgers (knee), Jason Holt (foot) and Scott Robinson (groin) remain on the sidelines but Danny Wilson will play through a shin splints problem.

Kilmarnock's Reuben Gabriel has completed a suspension but picked up an ankle injury in training and misses out again. Also missing Thursday's match will be David Silva after he picked up a knock, and long-term injury victims Ismael Bouzid (knee) and James Fowler (ankle).

Last season: Kilmarnock 0 Hearts 1, Hearts 0 Kilmarnock 3, Kilmarnock 1 Hearts 0, Hearts 1 Kilmarnock 3

Last five league matches: Hearts W D L L L; Kilmarnock L L W L W

Top scorers: Callum Paterson & Ryan Stevenson (Hearts) 4; Kris Boyd (Kilmarnock) 9

Referee: John Beaton (Scotland).

Our verdict: Hearts 0 Kilmarnock 1

Partick Thistle v Inverness

Partick Thistle left-back Aaron Taylor-Sinclair could miss out with a knock but fellow full-back Stephen O'Donnell returns to the squad following a hip injury. Isaac Osbourne (ankle) and Sean Welsh (groin) remain out while Gary Fraser is still suspended.

Inverness captain Richie Foran misses out with a shoulder injury but winger Marley Watkins has returned to training after missing the defeat by Aberdeen with a dead leg. Midfielder James Vincent remains out as he continues his rehabilitation following a leg fracture.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

Last five league matches: Partick L L L D L; Inverness CT W W D W L

Top scorers: Kris Doolan (Partick) 7; Billy McKay (Inverness CT) 17

Referee: William Collum (Scotland).

Our verdict: Partick Thistle 1 Inverness 1

Ross County v Hibernian

Ross County have a fully-fit squad as they prepare for their Boxing Day clash. Midfielder Marc Klok could return after missing the 1-0 defeat by Dundee United with a shin knock and defender Steven Saunders is back in contention after missing several weeks with a hamstring problem.

Rowan Vine and Owain Tudur Jones return to the Hibernian squad after missing the goalless draw against St Johnstone at Easter Road on Saturday for personal reasons. Defender James McPake (back) remains out and while striker Paul Heffernan (thigh) and winger Alex Harris (ankle) are back in training it is too early for both.

Last season: Ross County 1 Hibernian 0, Hibernian 0 Ross County 1, Ross County 3 Hibernian 2

Last five league matches: Ross County L D L L L; Hibernian L D D L D

Top scorers: Melvin De Leeuw & Richard Brittain (Ross County) 4; Liam Craig (Hibernian) 6

Referee: Brian Colvin (Scotland).

Our verdict: Ross County 1 Hibernian 2

St Johnstone v Celtic

Midfielder Paddy Cregg has been freed to line up for St Johnstone after the Perth side appealed his red card against Hibernian last week. However, injuries sustained at Easter Road have ruled out Murray Davidson (abdomen) and Chris Millar (groin). Steven MacLean (knee) remains on the sidelines and fellow striker Rory Fallon is suspended.

Adam Matthews has recovered from a fever to join the Celtic squad while midfielder Tom Rogic will train on Tuesday after recovering from a calf complaint and will come into contention. Charlie Mulgrew (groin), Dirk Boerrigter (hamstring), Mikael Lustig (hip), Beram Kayal (foot) and Steven Mouyokolo (Achilles) remain out.

Last season: Celtic 4 St Johnstone 0, St Johnstone 1 Celtic 1, Celtic 1 St Johnstone 1, St Johnstone 2 Celtic 1

Last five league matches: St Johnstone W W L L D; Celtic W W W W W

Top scorers: Stevie May (St Johnstone) 12; Kris Commons (Celtic) 14

Referee: Craig Thomson (Scotland).

Our verdict: St Johnstone 1 Celtic 3

St Mirren v Dundee United

St Mirren boss Danny Lennon has no fresh injury concerns to worry about. Winger Gary Teale (hernia) and defender David Barron (ankle) remain unavailable as they continue to battle back from injury.

Dundee United manager Jackie McNamara hopes to have a full squad available, with winger Gary Mackay-Steven hoping to shake off a knock while full-back Keith Watson could also return after not being risked for the weekend win over Ross County.

Last season: St Mirren 0 Dundee Utd 0, Dundee Utd 3 St Mirren 4, St Mirren 0 Dundee Utd 1

Last five league matches: St Mirren W D D L L; Dundee Utd W W W W W

Top scorers: Steven Thompson (St Mirren) 7; Stuart Armstrong, Gary Mackay-Steven & Nadir Ciftci (Dundee Utd) 7

Referee: Bobby Madden (Scotland).

Our verdict: St Mirren 1 Dundee United 1


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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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