Partick the spikier Thistle

  • By: Gareth Friel
  • Last Updated: March 20 2014, 22:44 GMT

In need of a win in the Scottish Premiership, Partick look a decent bet to beat goal-shy Inverness, says our tipster Gareth Friel.

Partick: Too big to beat out-of-form  Inverness
Partick: Too big to beat out-of-form Inverness

The relegation play-off has added a new dimension to the Scottish Premiership this season.

In years gone by the bottom six would have had little more than a passing interest for fans of clubs not involved in it given how far adrift Hearts are at the bottom.

But even though Hearts are all-but relegated, the prospect of playing off (which the second-bottom side will do) against one of the top First Division sides in a battle to avoid the drop means all the sides in the bottom half of the table are nervously looking over their shoulder.

A run of one win in 10 for Hibs allied to wins last weekend for Partick and Ross County last weekend means just seven points separate seventh to 11th. The fact they all have to face each other after the split makes it all the more intriguing.

It's getting to the stage of the season where the teams scrapping at the bottom are starting to turn in unexpected performances as the stakes get higher.

Ross County were surprise away winners at St Johnstone last Saturday evening while a couple of hours earlier Partick had defeated Hibs for only their second home win of the season. St Mirren were six minutes away from a huge win at Dundee United but collapsed in the closing stages. Nevertheless, it was their best performance in some time.

Looking at this weekend's programme, I feel Partick can build on their win against Hibs by beating League Cup runners-up Inverness on Saturday.

Thistle have lost only twice in their last 10 games, too many draws ensuring they still remain favourites to take the play-off spot.

Caley Thistle suffered the heartbreak of losing on penalties against Aberdeen in the League Cup final last Sunday and went down 2-0 to Motherwell in midweek.

They sit fourth in the Premiership table but are now six points behind Motherwell and a further three adrift of Aberdeen. In truth, they don't have much to play for other than pride at this stage unless either of the two sides above them suddenly collapse.

They've only won four times in 18 games going back to December. Worryingly for John Hughes, the defeat to Motherwell in midweek was the fifth game in a row in which they failed to score.

All in all, the visitors look a reasonable punt at 13/5.

On Friday night, Dundee United travel to Tynecastle to take on Hearts.

The Jambos are 20 points from safety with just 27 to play for - there is a very real possibility they could be relegated at home against their bitter rivals Hibs a week on Sunday.

They need to win this one, but it's hard to see anything other than an away win.

United have so much attacking talent at their disposal. They've scored four or more goals in nine of their 18 wins this campaign and three in a further four.

Left-back Andrew Robertson won a call-up to the Scotland squad for the friendly against Poland and has been a top performer for United this season.

His ability to get forward and create chances is part of the reason why his side have been so prolific in front of goal. He has hit the target five times this season and although his last goal came back in November, he still finds himself getting into some excellent goalscoring positions.

He could get some joy against an inexperienced Hearts side and the 9/1 on him scoring at any time in the televised clash looks decent.

  • Posted at 2135 GMT on 20/03/2014.

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