Friday, January 18, 2008

Scotland Weekend Preview

A midweek squeaker over Gretna put Rangers firmly in charge at the top of the table, holding a four-point lead over Celtic heading into this weekend. The weekend sees no big tide-turning matches as the teams are paired up across the board. Hopefully we'll avoid frozen pitch syndrome this week. Without further ado, here we go.

Hearts-Hibernian You might think that a match between the two top clubs in Edinburgh would be a people pleaser, complete with fat gate receipts and hearty singing. You'd be wrong. Hearts are in the middle of a most miserable season, while Hibs are trying to shake off the effects of their manager leaving mid-season. Look for a spritely affair on the pitch, with Hibs dispatching the Jambos easily. Prediction: 1-3

Celtic-Kilmarnock I know I've been hard on Killie before, and I should stop. They are never going to be more than they are, a low level team that consistently holds onto its SPL spot. They have been in the top flight for 15 years now, and will probably continue for 10 more. That said, Celtic need points to keep up with Rangers, and with Nakamura healthy, should find them easily. Killie scores early, then lose. Prediction: 4-1

Dundee United-Aberdeen Ah, the New Firm derby. Aberdeen, after a month of poor news updates, has had a wave of upbeat news this week. Calderwood's staying, Aluko's staying, Diamond's staying, and Stuart Duff is coming from the Terrors. I don't know if he will be ready for this weekend, but the message is clear enough. Aberdeen has set itself for the rest of the season, while United lose their longest-serving player. Aberdeen will continue its trend of playing league games close, only to score at the death. Prediction: 1-2

Gretna-Falkirk This is where Falkirk start to falter. They have sold their captain and will slide down the table come spring. Gretna was unlucky not to steal a point midweek, and will add one to their woeful total here. It won't be fun to watch. Prediction: 0-0

St Mirren-Motherwell Motherwell hasn't played a league match since Phil O'Donnell's death. Their manager is rumored to be taking the Scotland job after the season. I don't think the focus is there this week. St Mirren will take all three points in a romp. Prediction: 3-1

Inverness CT-Rangers It sure is nice that Rangers get the extra day to repair that Gretna do not. It won't do them much good. ICT always seem to take points off of the Old Firm at home. This one will be no different. Craig Brewster for Prime Minister. Prediction: 2-2

East Fife-Forfar East Fife have run away with the Third Division title. They are currently 16 points clear with 15 to play. Forfar sit bottom having collected 15 points all season. There is a 53 goal spread on the goal difference between the two. Look for East Fife to pump a few into the net at beautiful Bayview Stadium. Prediction: 4-0

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