A look ahead to the upcoming Scottish League fixtures
- A look ahead to the upcoming Scottish Premiership fixtures, with Celtic, Rangers, Hearts and Aberdeen all in action this weekend.
The last week or so has produced some much needed good news for Scottish football. The Scotland national team won their first game in the new UEFA Nations League against Albania, 2-0. The Scottish women’s national team qualified for the World Cup in France next year, when they defeated Switzerland 2-1 then Albania 2-1 to clinch qualification ahead of the Swiss. The Scotland under 21’s national team defeated The Netherlands, 2-1 away from home.
Scotland’s oldest club side, Queens Park, also took a step to securing their long-time future by selling their stadium, the National Stadium, Hampden Park to the SFA for £5 million. The Spiders, who play in league 2, and are still an amateur outfit in the professional leagues, travelled down to Wales to play Welsh champions The New Saints in the second round of the IRN BRU Cup, winning 4-2 on penalties after a 2-2 draw.
This weekend sees a return of the SPFL Premiership after the international break.
St Mirren v Celtic
First up on Friday evening 14/9/18 sees champions Celtic make the short trip to newly promoted St Mirren in Paisley. St Mirren sit second from bottom of the table, with one win. The Buddies decided a change of management was called for and promptly replaced Alan Stubbs with Northern Irishman, Oran Kearney, who left Coleraine from the Irish League to try and keep St Mirren in the Premiership. He couldn’t have picked a tougher start with the champions rolling into town.
Celtic, currently sitting in second place, will be buoyed after a good win in the Glasgow derby against rivals Rangers before the international break. Having secured Europa League qualification, the fixture list should ease off a touch for a few weeks, allowing Celtic players to gain some rest in between matches, which should see them go on a bit of a run in the league.
The rest of the fixture list is completed on Saturday 15th September, with all games kicking off at 3pm.
Hibernian v Kilmarnock
Potential tie of the round sees third place Kilmarnock travel through to the capital to face 6th place Hibernian. Both teams have lost one game each, Kilmarnock winning two and drawing one, while Hibs have drawn two and won one.
This should be a close game between two of the in-form teams from last season. Kilmarnock will be feeling aggrieved after the club and manager, Stevie Clarke, was charged by the SFA over comments criticising the governing body’s disciplinary process following a failed appeal for the red card received by Kilmarnock’s Gary Dicker against Hearts.
Livingston v Hamilton
The other promoted side, Livingston have also replaced their manager, when Gary Holt came in to replace player-manager Kenny Miller, who has reverted back to a player and since signed with Dundee. Holt got off to a great start when Livingston beat Hibs 2-1 in his first game in charge, Livingston currently sit 4th in the table.
Hamilton already look like a team that will be at the wrong end of the table come the end of the season. They are 10th in a twelve team league, with one win and three losses. These are the type of matches in which they will require to win some points if they have any hopes of remaining in the Premiership.
Motherwell v Hearts
This is another standout fixture in this round of matches, as league leaders Hearts look to continue their winning ways. Fresh from a 4-1 win over St Mirren, when Stevie Naismith, scored a hat-trick, Naismith also scored a double while on Scotland duty this week, Hearts remain undefeated and have recorded a win against champions Celtic already this season.
Motherwell had a good 3-1 away win against Dundee last time out and will be looking to derail the Jambo's excellent start. The Well have had mixed results so far, one win, one draw and two defeats and a win would see them move into the top half of the table.
Rangers v Dundee
Rangers will be expecting to bounce back from their derby day defeat to Celtic when they take on bottom club Dundee at Ibrox. Although widely reported that Steven Gerrard’s new look Rangers have had a great start to the season, they currently sit 7th in the table, with one win, two draws and one defeat. Rangers have put together a good run in the Europa League qualifiers and secured qualification, however, Gerrard will be looking for improvements in the league form.
Dundee already look in big trouble, four games played, four defeats. They won’t be expected to leave Glasgow with any sort of result. Difficult times for Dundee and their manager, Neil McCann.
St Johnstone v Aberdeen
It hasn’t been the best start to the campaign for Aberdeen, the Dons have finished second to Celtic in previous seasons however they will need to start winning games if they want to continue challenging. Aberdeen started with a home 1-1 draw against Rangers however last time out they were defeated at home by Kilmarnock 2-0. They travel to Perth to take on a tough St Johnstone side.
St Johnstone have former Celtic youngster, Tony Watt (scored a winner against Barcelona a few years back in Champions League), in good scoring form. St Johnstone beat Hamilton 2-1 away last time out and sit 5th in the table.Published 13 Sep 2018, 22:43 IST