Scottish Premiership briefing

  • Last Updated: December 13 2013, 18:18 GMT

Team news, statistics and our verdict for Saturday's action in the Scottish Premiership.

Ryan Stevenso: One of the players ruled out for Hearts
Ryan Stevenso: One of the players ruled out for Hearts

Saturday, December 14

Aberdeen (4) v St Mirren (8)

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes has just one injury absentee - full-back Clark Robertson remains on the sidelines with a knee injury.

Paul McGowan returns to the St Mirren squad after missing the midweek cup victory over Queen of the South amid fears he had fractured a toe. Only winger Gary Teale (hernia) and defender David Barron (ankle) are unavailable.

Last season: St Mirren 0 Aberdeen 0, Aberdeen 0 St Mirren 0, St Mirren 1 Aberdeen 4, Aberdeen 0 St Mirren 0

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Niall McGinn (Aberdeen) 8; Steven Thompson (St Mirren) 7

Referee: Craig Thomson

Our verdict: Aberdeen 2 St Mirren 1

Celtic (1) v Hibernian (7)

Celtic boss Neil Lennon vowed to make changes after the 6-1 Champions League defeat to Barcelona. Definitely not featuring will be Charlie Mulgrew (groin) and hamstring strain victim Dirk Boerrigter. Emilio Izaguirre could return after serving his European suspension.

Scott Robertson (hamstring) could return for Hibernian after missing last weekend's match with Partick. Defender James McPake had surgery on a back injury this week but will not be back in action until the New Year, while striker Paul Heffernan (thigh) and winger Alex Harris (ankle) are still short of fitness.

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

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Kris Commons (Celtic) 13; Liam Craig (Hibernian) 6

Referee: Bobby Madden

Our verdict: Celtic 2 Hibernian 0

Hearts (12) v Inverness (2)

Hearts boss Gary Locke will have just 12 senior outfield professionals to choose from. The Jambos confirmed on Tuesday that attacking midfielder Ryan Stevenson would be out of action for up to six weeks with a torn hamstring. They are also missing back-up goalkeeper Mark Ridgers (knee) and wide man Jason Holt (foot).

Inverness boss John Hughes has no fresh injury troubles. James Vincent is again missing with a leg fracture, but the midfield playmaker has been told he can step up his rehabilitation work.

Last season: Hearts 2 Inverness CT 3, Inverness CT 1 Hearts 1, Hearts 2 Inverness CT 2

Last five league matches: Hearts L L W D L; Inverness CT L W W W D

Top scorers (all competitions): Callum Paterson & Ryan Stevenson (Hearts) 4; Billy McKay (Inverness CT) 13

Referee: Brian Colvin

Our verdict: Hearts 1 Inverness 2

Kilmarnock (10) v Dundee United (3)

Kilmarnock welcome back captain Manuel Pascali and Darren Barr. James Fowler (ankle) and Ismael Bouzid (knee) remain out while David Silva is still struggling for full fitness.

Dundee United defender Gavin Gunning could return after missing last weekend's 4-1 win over Hearts with a knee problem. Striker Nadir Ciftci is available after suspension and hopes to overcome a hamstring strain to lead the line.

Last season: Kilmarnock 2 Dundee Utd 3, Dundee Utd 3 Kilmarnock 3, Kilmarnock 3 Dundee Utd 1

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Kris Boyd (Kilmarnock) 7; Nadir Ciftci (Dundee Utd) 7

Referee: Euan Norris

Our verdict: Kilmarnock 1 Dundee United 3

Partick (9) v St Johnstone (6)

Stuart Bannigan and Conrad Balatoni return from suspension for Partick. Gary Fraser remains banned while Stephen O'Donnell (hip) and Sean Welsh (groin) are out. Kallum Higginbotham (ankle ligaments) and Steven Lawless (hip) are both doubts.

Recent signing Lee Croft could come into the St Johnstone squad after playing 90 minutes for the under-20s in midweek. Steven Anderson (dislocated thumb) also played a full game but is not ready to return and Brian Easton (calf) could miss out again. Steven MacLean remains sidelined with a knee injury, while Rory Fallon is suspended.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Kris Doolan (Partick) 6; Stevie May (St Johnstone) 12

Referee: Kevin Clancy (Scotland)

Our verdict: Partick 0 St Johnstone 1

Ross County (11) v Motherwell (5)

Ross County manager Derek Adams has three injury doubts. Steven Saunders (hamstring) missed last weekend's defeat by Kilmarnock and fellow full-back Branislav Micic went off with a similar injury, while striker Orhan Mustafi (ankle) is also a doubt but Richard Brittain returns from suspension.

Motherwell goalkeeper Gunnar Nielsen remains a serious doubt with a thigh injury. With first-choice keeper Lee Hollis (ankle) still out, under-20s goalkeeper Ross Stewart and emergency loan signing from Dundee, Dan Twardzik, are vying to step in. Bob McHugh (leg knock), Zaine Francis-Angol (groin), Lee Erwin (knee) and Fraser Kerr (back/hamstring) are also out.

Last season: Motherwell 2 Ross County 0, Ross County 3 Motherwell 0, Motherwell 3 Ross County 2, Ross County 0 Motherwell 0

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Richard Brittain (Ross County) 4; John Sutton (Motherwell) 6

Referee: Crawford Allan

Our verdict: Ross County 0 Motherwell 1


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