Scottish Premiership briefing

  • Last Updated: January 17 2014, 18:27 GMT

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

St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright
St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright

Saturday, January 18

Aberdeen v Inverness

Defender Andrew Considine returns to the Aberdeen squad after recovering from a calf tear. Full-back Clark Robertson (knee) remains out while Nicky Low completes a two-match ban. Winger Gregg Wylde left the club to sign for St Mirren on Wednesday.

Inverness midfielder Ross Draper and defender Gary Warren are both suspended. Draper serves the second of his two-match ban while Warren sits out after going through the disciplinary points threshold. Winger Marley Watkins could miss out again with a dead leg while captain Richie Foran (shoulder) and midfield playmaker James Vincent (fractured leg) remain out.

Last season: Inverness CT 3 Aberdeen 0, Aberdeen 2 Inverness CT 3, Inverness CT 1 Aberdeen 1

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Niall McGinn (Aberdeen) 9; Billy McKay (Inverness CT) 18

Match odds: H 4-5 A 16-5 D 11-4

Referee: Iain Brines

Our verdict: Aberdeen 1 Inverness 0

Celtic v Motherwell

Celtic full-back Adam Matthews is nursing a calf complaint and will be assessed but Georgios Samaras will return from a hamstring injury. New signing Stefan Johansen will not be included in the squad as he is requiring fitness work and Mo Bangura is ill, while Mikael Lustig (hip), Beram Kayal (foot) and Steven Mouyokolo (Achilles) remain out.

Motherwell pair Simon Ramsden and Lee Hollis both face six weeks on the sidelines after undergoing respective knee and ankle surgery this week. Fraser Kerr could replace Ramsden at right-back after recovering from a hamstring injury, while Bob McHugh drops out following his loan move to Queen of the South and fellow forward Lee Erwin (knee) remains out.

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

Last five league matches: Celtic W W W W W; Motherwell W W W W W

Top scorers (all competitions): Kris Commons (Celtic) 17; John Sutton (Motherwell) 11

Match odds: H 1-3 A 8-1 D 4-1

Referee: Bobby Madden

Our verdict: Celtic 2 Motherwell 0

Hibernian v St Mirren

Hibernian winger Alex Harris is looking to continue his comeback from a broken ankle. The 19-year-old suffered his injury against Motherwell in the first league game of the season but returned to action as a late substitute away to Aberdeen last Friday.

Winger Gregg Wylde could make his St Mirren debut after completing his free transfer move from Aberdeen. Goalkeeper Marian Kello will be back after a hip injury ruled him out of last week's 2-0 defeat to St Johnstone, while midfielder John McGinn returns from suspension. However, on-loan Nice striker Stephane Bahoken is a doubt after picking up a thigh strain in training, while Kenny McLean (knee), Gary Teale (groin) and David Barron (ankle) remain out.

Last season: Hibernian 3 St Mirren 3, St Mirren 0 Hibernian 1, Hibernian 2 St Mirren 1, St Mirren 1 Hibernian 2

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Liam Craig (Hibernian) 9; Steven Thompson (St Mirren) 10

Match odds: H 5-6 A 17-5 D 12-5

Referee: William Collum

Our verdict: Hibernian 2 St Mirren 1

Partick v Kilmarnock

Lee Mair could make his Partick debut after signing from St Mirren. Midfielder Stuart Bannigan returns from an automatic ban following his red card against Hearts, but he will miss the midweek visit of St Johnstone through suspension because it was his second dismissal of the season. Long-term absentees Isaac Osbourne (ankle) and Sean Welsh (groin) are still missing from Thistle's midfield.

Stuart Bannigan returns from suspension for Partick. The midfielder has served an automatic ban he received following his red card against Hearts, but he will miss the midweek visit of St Johnstone through suspension because it was his second dismissal of the season. Long-term absentees Isaac Osbourne (ankle) and Sean Welsh (groin) are still missing from Thistle's midfield.

Kilmarnock have loaned midfielder James Fowler to Cowdenbeath for a month after he recovered from a knee injury that kept him out since November. Ismael Bouzid is nearing a return from a knee injury but defender Darren Barr has been ruled out for a further two months because of his hip problem. David Silva picked up another knock in training and will miss out again, but Jackson Irvine returns from illness.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Kris Doolan (Partick) 7; Kris Boyd (Kilmarnock) 12

Match odds: H 6-5 A 11-5 D 12-5

Referee: Steven McLean

Our verdict: Partick 1 Kilmarnock 1

Ross County v Dundee United

Ross County midfielder Stuart Kettlewell begins a three-match suspension but French striker Yoann Arquin comes into the squad after completing his move from Notts County. Defender Steven Saunders remains on the sidelines with a hamstring injury.

Dundee United will be without teenagers John Souttar and Ryan Gauld after manager Jackie McNamara sent the pair on a holiday to Spain to avoid burnout. McNamara is also without striker Brian Graham, who has a knee injury while defender Gavin Gunning is a doubt with a knee problem but Mark Wilson (stomach) and Nadir Ciftci (groin) both have an outside chance of returning from injury.

Last season: Ross County 1 Dundee Utd 0, Dundee Utd 1 Ross County 1, Ross County 1 Dundee Utd 2, Dundee Utd 0 Ross County 0

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

Top scorers (all competitions): Melvin de Leeuw & Richard Brittain (Ross County) 4; Nadir Ciftci (Dundee Utd) 8

Match odds: H 13-5 A 1-1 D 13-5

Referee: Craig Charleston

Our verdict: Ross County 0 Dundee United 1

St Johnstone v Hearts

St Johnstone defender Brian Easton has recovered from a hamstring injury but it is too early for him to considered. Midfielder Murray Davidson should be fully fit despite a knock to his knee. Striker Steven McLean (knee) is looking at the end of February before he returns.

Hearts forwards Ryan Stevenson and Callum Paterson are doubtful after being hit by illness. Midfielder Scott Robinson is suspended but skipper Danny Wilson is back in contention after illness and left-back Kevin McHattie is expected to shake off a hamstring problem. Second-choice goalkeeper Mark Ridgers is fit again following knee surgery. Jamie Walker drops out after undergoing surgery on a broken foot while fellow midfielder Jason Holt is three to four weeks away from returning from the same injury, leaving manager Gary Locke struggling to fill his bench again.

Last season: Hearts 2 St Johnstone 0, St Johnstone 2 Hearts 2, Hearts 2 St Johnstone 0

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

Top scorers: Stevie May (St Johnstone) 16; Ryan Stevenson, Callum Paterson & Jamie Hamill (Hearts) 4

Match odds: H 1-3 A 8-1 D 4-1

Referee: Brian Colvin

Our verdict: St Johnstone 2 Hearts 0

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