Scottish Premiership briefing

Team news, statistics and our verdict for the weekend's action in the Scottish Premiership.

Last Updated: 02/05/14 at 19:11 Post Comment

Hearts striker Callum Paterson

Hearts striker Callum Paterson

Saturday, May 3

Celtic v Aberdeen

Celtic could be without Greek striker Georgios Samaras after he was struck down by illness. Right-back Mikael Lustig, however, hopes to step up his recovery from a recent hip operation by starting his first match in more than four months after he was given a 20-minute run-out in the 6-0 thrashing of Inverness last week. Midfielder Nir Biton and wide man James Forrest remain out with groin injuries, along with winger Derk Boerrigter, who has an abdominal problem.

Aberdeen are without defender Andrew Considine after he suffered a hamstring injury that rules him out for the rest of the season. Full-back Joe Shaughnessy (knee) is also a doubt for Saturday's match while manager Derek McInnes is hopeful Peter Pawlett will overcome a problem with his back/hamstring. Midfielder Nicky Low remains on the sidelines with a broken toe.

Last season: Celtic 4 Aberdeen 3, Aberdeen 0 Celtic 2 Celtic 1 Aberdeen 0

Last five league matches: Celtic W D W D W; Aberdeen D D W D D

Top scorers (all competitions): Kris Commons (Celtic) 28; Niall McGinn (Aberdeen) 13

Referee: Iain Brines

Our verdict: Celtic 2 Aberdeen 1

Hibernian v Partick

Hibernian will have to do without suspended defender Jordon Forster. Back-four colleague James McPake is unlikely to feature either as his back struggles linger on. Definitely unavailable are Paul Heffernan (thigh) and Paul Hanlon (knee), who are both out for the season.

Alan Archibald has three unnamed players struggling for fitness. Defender Aaron Muirhead (knee) and midfielders Isaac Osbourne (ankle) and Sean Welsh (groin) remain on the sidelines. However, the Jags boss has another trio of doubts who are rated 50-50 but who will be given every chance.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Liam Craig (Hibernian) 9; Kris Doolan (Partick) 10

Referee: Alan Muir

Our verdict: Hibernian 1 Partick 1

Inverness v Dundee United

Marley Watkins has recovered from flu for Inverness, while David Raven and James Vincent are back in training after missing the defeat at Celtic with groin injuries but are not certain to feature. Captain Richie Foran remains out following knee surgery, and Caley boss John Hughes has other unnamed injury concerns.

Teenagers Ryan Gauld and John Souttar could win recalls for Dundee United after being rested in the 5-1 win over Motherwell. On-loan Newcastle defender Curtis Good (hip) and centre-back Calum Butcher (broken toe) remain out.

Last season: Inverness 1 Dundee Utd 2, Inverness 0 Dundee Utd 0 Dundee Utd 4 Inverness 4, Inverness 4 Dundee Utd 0

Last five league matches: Inverness CT D L W D L; Dundee Utd W D L L W

Top scorers (all competitions): Billy McKay (Inverness) 22; Nadir Ciftci (Dundee Utd) 17

Referee: Brian Colvin

Our verdict: Inverness 1 Dundee United 3

Motherwell v St Johnstone

Motherwell have an unchanged squad. James McFadden could come into the team after staying on the bench at Dundee United last week having recovered from a hamstring injury. Midfielders Paul Lawson (Achilles) and Stuart Carswell (knee) and defender Simon Ramsden (knee) remain on the sidelines following surgery.

St Johnstone welcome Gary McDonald and Michael O'Halloran back into the fold. McDonald has been out for several weeks with a knee injury while O'Halloran missed last weekend's 1-1 draw with Aberdeen. Long-term injury victims Tam Scobbie (ankle) and Murray Davidson (knee) remain out.

Last season: St Johnstone 2 Motherwell 0, Motherwell 3 St Johnstone 2 St Johnstone 1 Motherwell 3, Motherwell 1 St Johnstone 1

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

Top scorers (all competitions): John Sutton (Motherwell) 21; Stevie May (St Johnstone) 27

Referee: Kevin Clancy

Our verdict: Motherwell 0 St Johnstone 1

St Mirren v Ross County

St Mirren manager Danny Lennon will have skipper Jim Goodwin available after he avoided a season-ending ban by successfully appealing his dismissal against Hibernian. A Scottish Football Association disciplinary tribunal downgraded his punishment for a challenge on Kevin Thomson to a yellow card for recklessly dangerous play, rather than a red for serious foul play. Lennon has no injury worries for the visit of the Saints' relegation play-off rivals, who are one point behind the seventh-placed Buddies.

Ross County manager Derek Adams will assess some injury problems, but would not reveal the identity of the affected players. Midfielder Michael Tidser went off injured in the first half of last weekend's win over Kilmarnock and defender Evangelos Oikonomou was absent.

Last season: St Mirren 1 Ross County 4, Ross County 0 St Mirren 0 St Mirren 5 Ross County 4

Last five league matches: St Mirren L D W W D; Ross County D D L L W

Top scorers (all competitions): Steven Thompson (St Mirren) 15; Melvin de Leeuw (Ross County) 8

Referee: Craig Thomson

Our verdict: St Mirren 1 Ross County 0

Sunday, May 4

Hearts v Kilmarnock

Hearts midfielder Jamie Hamill returns from suspension but boss Gary Locke will be without third-choice goalkeeper Jack Hamilton after he saw a specialist on Thursday in a bid to solve his ankle injury. Callum Tapping remains on the sidelines with a knee injury.

Kilmarnock are expected have an unchanged squad, with long-term absentees Greg Kiltie (ankle) and Darren Barr (hip) missing again. Midfielder Sammy Clingan is pushing for a start after making two substitute appearances following a knee injury lay-off.

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 W W W; Kilmarnock L W L L L

Top scorers: Jamie Hamill & Callum Paterson (Hearts) 9; Kris Boyd (Kilmarnock) 20

Referee: Calum Murray

Our verdict: Hearts 2 Kilmarnock 1


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