Scottish Premiership briefing
Team news, statistics and our verdict for Saturday's action in the Scottish Premiership.
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Saturday, December 7
Dundee United defender Gavin Gunning could miss the clash against Hearts due to a knee injury which has been troubling him in recent weeks. But winger Gary Mackay-Steven is hoping to shake off a groin injury. Nadir Ciftci is unavailable after the Scottish Football Association handed him an immediate one-match ban for his clash with assistant referee Gavin Harris during last month's League Cup match against Inverness.
Ryan Stevenson is a doubt for Hearts after boss Gary Locke confirmed the forward was struggling with a hamstring pull. Back-up goalkeeper Mark Ridgers will definitely sit out the match after it was confirmed he will undergo surgery on a knee injury next week, while Jason Holt (metatarsal) is sidelined.
Last season: Dundee Utd 3 Hearts 1, Hearts 2 Dundee Utd 1, Dundee Utd 0 Hearts 3
Last five league matches: Dundee Utd L W D W W; Hearts L L L W D
Top scorers (all competitions): Nadir Ciftci (Dundee Utd) 7; Callum Paterson & Ryan Stevenson (Hearts) 4
Referee: Craig Thomson
Hibs boss Terry Butcher will be able to call on Kevin Thomson after the former Rangers and Middlesbrough man recovered from a hip injury. However, Thomson's midfield colleague Scott Robertson remains a doubt with a hamstring injury and striker Paul Heffernan (thigh) and Alex Harris (broken foot) are still out.
Partick manager Alan Archibald has several injury and suspension problems. Stuart Bannigan, Conrad Balatoni and Gary Fraser are all banned for the clash while Sean Welsh, Jordan McMillan and Stephen O'Donnell are fitness doubts.
Last season: No corresponding fixture
Last five league matches: Hibernian D L L L D; Partick W L L L L
Top scorers (all competitions): Liam Craig (Hibernian) 6; Kris Doolan (Partick) 5
Referee: John Beaton
Ross County manager Derek Adams will assess the fitness of Branislav Micic, Steven Saunders and Rocco Quinn ahead of the game - all three were forced out of last week's William Hill Scottish Cup defeat to Hibernian and are doubtful. Adams is also waiting for a fitness update on two other players but did not reveal their identities, while Richard Brittain is suspended.
Killie will be without suspended captain Manuel Pascali but Michael Gardyne is available again, having been unable to feature against parent club Dundee United last week. Boss Allan Johnston has no fresh injuries.
Last season: Ross County 0 Kilmarnock 1, Kilmarnock 3 Ross County 0, Ross County 0 Kilmarnock 0
Last five league matches: Ross County W L L L D; Kilmarnock W W L L L
Top scorers (all competitions): Richard Brittain (Ross County) 4; Kris Boyd (Kilmarnock) 6
Referee: Bobby Madden
Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes expects to have a similar squad to last week at his disposal. Jonny Hayes missed the William Hill Scottish Cup win over Partick and is likely to remain on the sidelines, Willo Flood (hamstring) and Clark Robertson (knee) are out, while Josh Magennis should shake off a groin strain.
Last season: St Johnstone 3 Aberdeen 1, Aberdeen 2 St Johnstone 0, St Johnstone 1 Aberdeen 2
Last five league matches: St Johnstone L W W W L; Aberdeen W W W L L
Top scorers (all competitions): Stevie May (St Johnstone) 12; Niall McGinn (Aberdeen) 7
Referee: William Collum
Paul McGowan has been passed fit for St Mirren - the playmaker limped off against Queen of the South with a hip injury but has shaken off the knock and will be ready for the Paisley clash. Winger Gary Teale (hernia) and defender David Barron (ankle) are making good progress in their rehabilitation but will not feature against the Highlanders.
Inverness captain Richie Foran returns for John Hughes' first match in charge - the Irishman served a William Hill Scottish Cup ban last week and is back for the Paisley clash. Midfield playmaker James Vincent is again missing as he continues his recovery from a leg fracture.
Last season: St Mirren 2 Inverness 1, Inverness 2 St Mirren 2, St Mirren 2 Inverness 2
Last five league matches: St Mirren W L W W D; Inverness L L W W W
Top scorers (all competitions): Steven Thompson (St Mirren) 6; Billy McKay (Inverness) 13
Referee: Calum Murray