The Scottish Premiership is back with a bang this weekend following the international break and the lunchtime opener between St Mirren and Hibs is arguably the most intriguing fixture of the programme.
The contest sees Terry Butcher take hold of the managerial reigns at the Hibees for the very first time and many punters will be expecting the former Inverness boss to make a winning start at Love Street. Bookies however, aren’t so sure so the visitors are BetVictor’s 2/1 outsiders while the Buddies are 6/4 at Stan James having picked up four victories in their last five outings and bet365 post 23/10 against a stalemate.
Ultimately though, the ‘new manager factor’ and St Mirren’s form could cancel each other out and I like the look of BetVictor’s 17/5 about a score draw in Paisley.
The biggest game at the top sees leaders Celtic entertain third-placed Aberdeen but seven points separate the teams and aided by home advantage it’s hard to see the Hoops coming unstuck, especially as the Dons suffered a shock reverse to rock-bottom Hearts last time out.
Winner.com rate Neil Lennon’s boys at 9/20 to make it two wins from two against Aberdeen this term and Coral quote the hosts at 31/20 to beat the Dons ‘to nil’, just as they did at Pittodrie in August.
St Johnstone head to second-placed Inverness on the back of three straight wins and as Caley Thistle remain managerless following Terry Butcher’s departure, Saints will fancy their chances in the Highlands.
Nevertheless, the hosts are William Hill’s 5/4 jollies having carded back-to-back successes and Tommy Wright’s troops are bet365’s 12/5 underdogs. Also at 12/5, this time courtesy of Betfred is the stalemate and with both teams in decent shape that’s worth considering.
Motherwell’s form has been up and down of late but at 11/8 (Coral) the Steelmen should still have too much for a pretty ordinary Killie side at Rugby Park. Similarly, Dundee United, who hammered ‘Well 4-0 in their last outing, look like a banker at 8/11 via BetVictor as they play host to a faltering Partick outfit arriving at Tannadice having lost four of their last five. The Terrors and Motherwell double up at an enticing 3/1 (BetVictor)
Finally, at Tynecastle, Hearts can build on their recent success at Aberdeen when they host fellow strugglers Ross County. The Staggies’ last handful of matches have produced four defeats and things can go from bad to worse for them in the capital, where the Jambos are Boylesports’ 5/4 chances.
Double on Motherwell and Dundee Utd – 3/1 (BetVictor)
Hearts to beat Ross County – 5/4 (Boylesports)
Draw double on St Mirren v Hibs & Inverness v St Johnstone – 10/1 (bet365)
Celtic to beat Aberdeen ‘to nil’ – 31/20 (Coral)