Live on Sky Sports 2: Sun 12.30: Peter Sharkey previews the final weekend of the SPL season and thinks Celtic can ease to victory.
As a traumatic SPL campaign draws to a close this weekend, there’s a sense that most clubs will be glad of the forthcoming break as it gives them time to consider the repercussions of what’s happened off the pitch.
Perennial underachievers Aberdeen will be pleased it’s all over and despite having failed to beat St Mirren in three attempts this season, they start as BetVictor’s 6/5 favourites to rectify that at Pittodrie tomorrow. Aberdeen held a 2-0 lead when the pair last met in the granite city, yet the Saints pulled back to make it 2-2. They look a little overpriced (11/4, Ladbrokes) to claim another three points, though a large proportion of backers have opted for the stalemate, priced at 5/2 by Paddy Power.
Dunfermline and Kilmarnock have shared 10 goals in three meetings this term and despite Killie having the SPL’s worst away goalscoring record, Coral chalk 8/11 about the fixture producing more than 2.5 goals.
Relegated Dunfermline kick off as Skybet’s 11/5 outsiders with Stan James installing Kilmarnock as their 6/4 jollies. As Dunfermline have managed just one home win this term, that looks a pretty decent bet; punters who concur can also get 10/3 (bet365) against the visitors enjoying a one goal margin of victory.
A late Leigh Griffiths winner handed Hibs a 3-2 win when they met Inverness last month , but as the Highland side enjoys home advantage tomorrow, Paddy Power make them their 6/5 favourites to overhaul the Edinburgh team for the first time this season. It promises to be tight and Betfred’s 4/6 for both sides to score has attracted punters’ attention. The same could be said for Boylesports’ 6/1, marked about it finishing one apiece, while Stan James’ 8/1 odds for Inverness to win 2-1 cannot be discounted.
On Sunday, Celtic and Hearts meet for the first time since the Jambos’ thrilling last minute victory over the champions at Hampden in the Scottish Cup semi final.
Hearts travel to Glasgow priced as BetVictor’s 9/1 underdogs – completely understandable as Celtic have beaten them in each of their last four SPL duels at Parkhead without conceding a goal. No wonder Neil Lennon’s charges start as Coral’s 4/11 jollies, while Skybet mark 10/11 about Celtic retaining another clean sheet. Elsewhere, bet365 offer 11/10 against the game’s total goal minutes exceeding 150 and Ladbrokes post an already well-supported 6/1 in favour of the home side winning 2-0.
Stan James have had little hesitation making Motherwell their 8/5 favourites to secure three points when they host Dundee United on Sunday. Although each of the pair’s three meetings have been close this season (and Coral offer 12/5 about another draw), it’s a fixture from which Motherwell should emerge victorious.
Nonetheless, William Hill’s even money for the first half to finish with honours even catches the eye, as does Skybet’s massive 11/1 for it to finish goalless at 90 minutes. More likely is a home win – Ladbrokes chalk 8/1 against ‘Well winning 2-1.
Finally, four consecutive defeats represents a miserable conclusion to a promising season for St Johnstone who will be desperate to avoid a fifth straight loss on Sunday. Bookies have other thoughts, with Boylesports installing Rangers as their even money favourites while the draw is priced at 14/5 by Paddy Power.
However, those expecting St Johnstone to finish their campaign with a win may prefer the 11/1 BetVictor.com has marked in favour of a 1-0 home victory.