Scottish Premier League briefing

  • Last Updated: December 7 2012, 16:41 GMT

Team news and statistics for the weekend's action in the Clydesdale Bank Scottish Premier League.

Sean Dillon: Back for Dundee United

Saturday, December 8

Hearts (9) v Aberdeen (4)

Arvydas Novikovas is doubtful and Darren Barr could also miss out as Hearts bid to bounce back from their Scottish Cup exit. Winger Novikovas suffered an ankle injury and midfielder Barr a knock in the 1-0 Edinburgh derby loss at Hibernian, while Barr is also suffering from shin splints.

Jason Holt (ankle), Dylan McGowan (hip) and Danny Grainger (knee) will miss out, while Jamie Hamill is continuing his rehabilitation from a knee injury.

Aberdeen winger Ryan Fraser will miss the trip to Hearts with a hip injury after rejecting a new contract offer from the Dons.

Stephen Hughes is nearing a return but Gary Naysmith has suffered a setback in his bid to overcome a calf problem. Rory Fallon should recover from a dead leg but Ryan Jack, Rob Milsom, Chris Clark, Clark Robertson and Isaac Osbourne remain out.

Last season: Hearts 3 Aberdeen 0, Aberdeen 0 Hearts 0, Hearts 3 Aberdeen 0

Last five league matches: Hearts L D W D L; Aberdeen L W L W L

Top scorers (all competitions): Marius Zaliukas (Hearts) 4; Niall McGinn (Aberdeen) 9

Referee: Euan Norris (Scotland)

Inverness (3) v Hibernian (2)

Inverness manager Terry Butcher expects Clydesdale Bank Premier League young player of the month Aaron Doran to recover from illness in order to face Hibernian. Nick Ross (shoulder) and Simon King (ankle) are moving towards a comeback while defender Chris Hogg remains out with a knee injury.

Leigh Griffiths is a doubt for Hibernian. The SPL's top scorer hobbled off with an ankle injury during the second half of the Edinburgh derby in the Scottish Cup last Sunday. Midfielder Gary Deegan (jaw), captain James McPake (back) and his fellow defender Tim Clancy (groin) are nearing returns.

Last season: Inverness 2 Hibernian 0, Inverness 2 Hibernian 3, Hibernian 1 Inverness 1, Inverness 0 Hibernian 1

Last five league matches: Inverness W D L W W; Hibernian W W L L W

Top scorers (all competitions): Billy McKay (Inverness) 10; Leigh Griffiths (Hibernian) 13

Referee: Crawford Allan (Scotland)

Kilmarnock (8) v Celtic (1)

Kilmarnock will be without the suspended Manuel Pascali for the visit of Celtic. Pascali misses out against the Scottish champions as he completes a two-match ban. Liam Kelly and Garry Hay have both trained this week but the match at Rugby Park is likely to come too soon for both.

Celtic duo Mikael Lustig (hamstring) and Kris Commons (thigh) will miss the trip to Kilmarnock after going off injured against Spartak Moscow, but Victor Wanyama returns from suspension and Scott Brown trained after deciding he will not immediately have surgery on his hip problem.

Striker Anthony Stokes (ankle) and wingers Paddy McCourt (hamstring) and James Forrest (hamstring) remain out.

Last season: Kilmarnock 0 Celtic 6, Celtic 2 Kilmarnock 1, Kilmarnock 3 Celtic 3

Last five league matches: Kilmarnock W L W D L; Celtic D D W L W

Top scorers (all competitions): Cillian Sheridan (Kilmarnock) 8; Gary Hooper (Celtic) 13

Referee: Craig Thomson (Scotland)

Motherwell (5) v Ross County (10)

Motherwell defenders Shaun Hutchinson and Simon Ramsden are back in contention. Hutchinson missed last week's William Hill Scottish Cup fourth round tie against Aberdeen at Pittodrie with a hamstring injury while Ramsden has been out with calf problem.

Defender Steven Saunders is fit after an August knee operation but is not ready for first-team action, while goalkeeper Darren Randolph is still suspended.

Ross County have injury doubts over defender Scott Boyd and midfielder Stuart Kettlewell, but centre-back Grant Munro is fully fit after a knock saw him spend last weekend's Highland derby on the bench. Russell Duncan and Mark Corcoran have still to return from injury.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

Last five league matches: Motherwell L D W D W; Ross County W L D L D

Top scorers (all competitions): Michael Higdon (Motherwell) 10; Iain Vigurs (Ross County) 5

Referee: Calum Murray (Scotland)

St Mirren (11) v St Johnstone (6)

St Mirren captain Jim Goodwin returns from suspension after missing the William Hill Scottish Cup fourth round win over Brechin City last week. Striker Steven Thompson is also back in the squad after recovering from a hip injury.

St Johnstone's Dave Mackay begins a two-match ban but fellow defender Frazer Wright is free to play before a one-game SPL suspension kicks in. Kevin Moon, Peter Pawlett, Callum Davidson and Paddy Cregg are all available after injury, but David McCracken, Craig Beattie, Jamie Adams and David Robertson are out.

Last season: St Mirren 0 St Johnstone 3, St Johnstone 0 St Mirren, 1 St Mirren 0 St Johnstone 0

Last five league matches: St Mirren L L L W D; St Johnstone L D D W L

Top scorers (all competitions): Steven Thompson (St Mirren) 7; Murray Davidson (St Johnstone) 5

Referee: Bobby Madden (Scotland)

Sunday, December 9

Dundee (12) v Dundee Utd (7)

Dundee have no fresh injury concerns, but the SPL's bottom club are still without striker Carl Finnigan (knee), captain Stephen O'Donnell (hamstring), Mark Kerr (knee), Brian Easton (hamstring) and Jamie McCluskey (Achilles). Defender Davide Grassi (knee) has had an operation and will be out for a further 12 weeks, while forward Mark Stewart (knee) is also out.

Defender Sean Dillon will be included in the Dundee United squad after recovering from a thigh injury. Midfielder Michael Gardyne has missed training this week with a groin problem but is also likely to be fit. Winger Gary Mackay-Steven remains on the sidelines after breaking a bone in his hand.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

Last five league matches: Dundee L W D W L; Dundee Utd W L D W L

Top scorers (all competitions): Ryan Conroy (Dundee) 4; Johnny Russell (Dundee Utd) 11

Referee: William Collum (Scotland)

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