Though an increasing number of retailers refer to it as Valentine’s Weekend, there’s likely to be little love lost at McDiarmid Park on Saturday lunchtime when St Johnstone welcome champions Celtic.
On paper, it’s a fixture the league leaders should win by a comfortable margin. They’re BetVictor’s 1/2 odds-on favourites to secure victory, although following last weekend’s shock Cup exit, the Saints cannot be underestimated, even though Ladbrokes quote starting odds of 5/1.
Despite experiencing a rare wobble earlier in the campaign, Celtic are now William Hill’s 1/20 favourites to be crowned champions again and their recent goalscoring form against St Johnstone (three in each of their last three meetings), suggests their starting price is actually quite generous. Accordingly, bet365’s 11/10 for the game’s total goal minutes to exceed 145 is worthy of note.
All three of Celtic’s nearest challengers are away from home this weekend, with second-placed Aberdeen having to wait until Sunday before they tackle Hamilton. The Dons lost 3-0 on their last visit to New Douglas Park, but they’re even money (Stan James) to secure a maximum haul this time, with the Accies, winless in their last six league matches, quoted at a frothy-looking 11/4 (Betway).
As they play on Saturday, third-placed Inverness can move level on points with Aberdeen should they overhaul a St Mirren side still to register a league win at Love Street this term. Not surprisingly, the Jags kick off as Paddy Power’s 11/10 favourites to defeat a side they’ve beaten twice in the league already this season – although by the narrowest of margins. Another 1-0 Inverness success is rated a 13/2 shot by Skybet.
At 6/5 (bet365), Dundee United look good value to beat a Kilmarnock side (23/10, Betway) for the seventh time in eight meetings, although it’s a much closer call in neighbours Dundee’s fixture against Partick. The Dark Blues have drawn more home league matches (6) than any other Premiership team and as each of their contests with Partick have ended one apiece this term, Stan James’s 11/2 for it to end 1-1 for the third consecutive occasion is difficult to ignore. The draw is quoted at 13/5 by BetVictor.com.
Finally, the bottom pair of Ross and Motherwell, who have managed just 7 wins between them in 48 league matches this season, go head-to-head at Victoria Park where the prospect of a goalless draw is rated an 8/1 shot by Winner.com.
More than 145 goal minutes in St Johnstone v Celtic – 11/10 (bet365)
Ross County v Motherwell to be 0-0 – 8/1 (Winner.com)
Dundee v Partick draw – 13/5 (BetVictor)
Treble on Aberdee, Inverness and Dundee Utd – 8/1 (Coral)