SPL preview: Unbeaten Celtic face depleted Hearts side

SPL preview: Unbeaten Celtic face a depleted Hearts side who sit bottom of the league on Saturday

By Graham Barr
neil lennon
Neil Lennon's men won the SPL title this season Photo: Back Page Images

Unbeaten Celtic face a depleted Hearts side who sit bottom of the Scottish Premiership with -3 points on Saturday.

Only a couple of weeks ago, the two sides met in the Scottish Cup and the league leaders comfortably won 7-0.

With the Hearts squad reduced to only 11 or 12 fit first-team players, a similar result may well be feared by many Hearts fans.

For Gary Locke’s men, the aim will have to be to keep the score respectable as there is almost no hope of taking anything away from Parkhead this weekend.

Ross County make the trip to Dundee to face the league’s in-form side. Jackie McNamara’s men have now scored four goals in their last five games, while County have lost five of their last six and find themselves in the relegation play-off spot.

United will be hoping their impressive form can continue and that they can keep the pressure on second placed Inverness.

Terry Butcher’s Hibs host a St Johnstone side that have lost their last two games to Inverness and Aberdeen.

Although Hibs have not won in their last seven matches, there have been signs of improvement in recent weeks and last week they put in a decent performance against league leaders, Celtic.

A victory would move Hibs within a point of St Johnstone and the top six whereas a win for the away side would strengthen their hold on sixth place.

Partick Thistle travel to Kilmarnock in what is a hugely important game for both sides.

Killie are only a point clear of the relegation play-off spot and Patrick are only two points better off. A win for either side would be massive in their quest for survival.

Partick have not won in their last five matches, while Kilmarnock have won only won in the same time. The game is unlikely to be filled with goals and a draw may well be the most likely result.

Motherwell will be looking to build on a 2-1 victory against Ross County last weekend when they host St Mirren on Saturday.

Stuart McCall’s man have struggled to put together a run of good results this season and if they have hopes of qualifying for Europe, a victory against St Mirren is hugely important to stay in touch with Aberdeen, Inverness and Dundee United.

Despite a 2-0 defeat away to Aberdeen last week, St Mirren have been on an excellent run of form and will also be confident of picking up three points.

In the final game of the day, second and fourth face each other in what has the potential to be the game of the day.

Aberdeen have won five or their last seven games and have closed the gap on their opponents, Inverness, who will be looking to remain unbeaten under new manager John Hughes.

Hughes picked up his first victory against a weak Hearts side last weekend but the visit of Aberdeen will prove a much tougher test.

Fixtures 21st December 2014

Celtic v Hearts
Dundee United v Ross County
Hibernian v St Johnstone
Kilmarnock v Partick Thistle
Motherwell v St Mirren
Inverness CT v Aberdeen

MORE:

MORE: The latest football transfer news

MORE: Meet the Premier League's most stylish footballers

MORE: Do you know the top Muslim footballers in the Premier League?

MORE: Take a tour of Arsenal star Mesut Ozil’s £10m London house

MORE: Man United latest news

MORE: Arsenal latest news

MORE: Chelsea latest news

MORE: Liverpool latest news

Laureus Awards 2019
Novak Djokovic
Laureus Awards 2019: Djokovic, Halep, Kerber headline big tennis showing for sporting Oscars
Top 50 Muslim footballers: Arsenal, Chelsea FC, Liverpool FC and Man United stars feature
Top 50 Muslim footballers: Arsenal, Chelsea FC, Liverpool FC and Man United stars feature
Meet Arsenal star Mesut Ozil’s girlfriend Amine Gulse
Meet Arsenal star Mesut Ozil’s girlfriend Amine Gulse
Take a tour of Arsenal star Mesut Ozil’s £10m London house with us
Take a tour of Arsenal star Mesut Ozil’s £10m London house with us
Top 50 most stylish footballers in the world in 2017: Chelsea, Arsenal stars feature – Slideshow
Top 50 most stylish footballers in the world in 2017: Chelsea, Arsenal stars feature – Slideshow
Meet Chelsea FC star Andreas Christensen’s girlfriend Katrine Friis
Meet Chelsea FC star Andreas Christensen’s girlfriend Katrine Friis
Gary Neville
Gary Neville suggests Man United’s 1-0 win inspired by Liverpool FC display
Unai Emery
Arsenal ‘hopeful’ of completing first January signing – report
Gonzalo Higuain
Italian journalist: Chelsea FC set to sign 31-year-old striker on loan