Back Buddies for victory
St Mirren are backed to beat Dundee by our Scottish football expert Gavin McGrane in our SPFL preview package.
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Match-by-match score verdicts and team news for the Scottish Premiership games will be available in this story later on Friday.
I’ve been struggling to find a best bet this week as most of the prices are pretty much spot on but one team I see as being underrated is St Mirren against newcomers Dundee. Before the season started I fancied Saints to finish bottom (I still do) but think they are a little better than recent results suggest. They were admittedly poor against Hamilton last week but incredibly unlucky not to beat Motherwell on the opening day. New recruit Adam Drury comes highly recommended and if he is as impressive going forward as his Man City teammate Ellis Plummer is at the back then Paul Hartley’s men could be in line for their first defeat of the season. Kevin Thompson should still be missing for the visitors and as a result I can see Saints energetic midfield duo of Kenny McLean and John McGinn running riot through the middle. It’s a St Mirren win for me.
Rangers have had an uninspired start to life in the second tier but I think they can show at least a hint of intent this weekend. In terms of ability, Dumbarton are probably as far ahead of Clyde (destroyed 8-1 at Ibrox in midweek) as they are behind Falkirk (beaten 2-0 at home to Rangers at the weekend) and I would expect the score to be somewhere between the two. The match prices are not very attractive but you could go a lot worse than Rangers -2 in the handicap betting.
Greenock Morton have been opposed since the season started and struggled to victory at home to lower-league opponents Berwick Rangers. To me they look vulnerable against a Peterhead team on the rise. At this level you can’t put a price on a reliable goalscorer and, in Rory McAllister, the Blue Toon have a striker who virtually guarantees you 25 goals a season. I can see him terrorising an already fragile Morton defence. Peterhead win for me.
I backed Annan to win League Two pre-season and so far, so bad! They’ve lost both their opening fixtures but I’m backing them this week to kick-start their campaign against Montrose. Annan were unfortunate to lose 2-1 at Albion, two goals in as many second-half minutes turned a game that really was a 50-50 affair. Against Queens Park last week they were again on the end of a one-goal defeat, losing 1-0 after being reduced to 10-men early in the second half. Montrose were impressive against East Stirling but in this league more than most it's dangerous to read too much into one or two results. Annan win the call.
United have lost midfielder Stuart Armstrong to an ankle injury but winger Ryan Dow (thigh) and defender Jaroslaw Fojut (Achilles) have recovered from injuries. Defenders Sean Dillon (fractured cheekbone), Mark Wilson (broken foot) and John Souttar (ankle) remain sidelined.
Ross County boss Derek Adams has one or two knocks to contend with - but declined to name the injury concerns. Defender Steven Saunders is out again as he awaits news on tests on his injured ankle, while Dutch midfielder Marc Klok left the club in midweek.
Last season: Ross County 3 Dundee Utd 0, Dundee Utd 1 Ross County 0, Ross County 2 Dundee Utd 4
Last five league matches: Dundee Utd L L W W L; Ross County W W L L L
Top scorers (all competitions): Mario Bilate, Ryan Dow, Chris Erskine, John Rankin & Gary Mackay-Steven (Dundee Utd) 1; Liam Boyce & Jake Jervis (Ross County) 1
Match odds: H 4-9 A 6-1 D 17-5
Referee: Steven McLean (Scotland)
Inverness manager John Hughes will assess midfielder James Vincent, who is on his way back from a groin complaint. The game comes too soon for Danny Devine, who is recovering from a knee injury, while a similar problem keeps out Richie Foran.
Celtic boss Ronny Deila vowed to utilise his squad this weekend, with one eye on next week's Champions League play-off second leg against Maribor. However, loan signing Aleksandar Tonev is not ready for his debut, while James Forrest (hamstring) and defender Adam Matthews (calf) remain out and Derk Boerrigter is suspended. Captain Scott Brown (hamstring) is also still missing.
Last season: Celtic 6 Inverness 0, Celtic 5 Inverness 0, Inverness 0 Celtic 1, Celtic 2 Inverness 2
Last five league matches: Inverness L W W D W; Celtic W D W W W
Top scorers (all competitions): Ryan Christie, Aaron Doran, Billy McKay & Greg Tansey (Inverness) 1; Callum McGregor (Celtic) 3
Match odds: H 11-2 A 1-2 D 16-5
Referee: Bobby Madden (Scotland)
Killie striker Lee Miller has recovered from a calf strain and could feature at some stage, even though he has admitted to lacking match-sharpness. Manager Allan Johnston has some unnamed injury concerns but could have a full squad.
Lee Erwin and David Ferguson have joined Well's injury list and boss Stuart McCall has a problem at left-back as Ferguson had been deputising for Steven Hammell and Zaine Francis-Angol, who remain out. On-loan Derby defender Mark O'Brien could make his debut, with Adam Cummins and Simon Ramsden on the sidelines.
Last season: Motherwell 1 Kilmarnock 2, Kilmarnock 0 Motherwell 2, Motherwell 2 Kilmarnock 1
Last five league matches: Kilmarnock W W D L W; Motherwell W W W L L
Top scorers (all competitions): Josh Magennis, Tope Obadeyi & Craig Slater (Kilmarnock) 1; Lionel Ainsworth, Lee Erwin & Steven Hammell (Motherwell) 1
Match odds: H 29-20 A 15-8 D 23-10
Referee: William Collum (Scotland)
Defender Ben Richards-Everton has been confirmed as Partick's most recent signing but it is uncertain whether he will be involved at Firhill. Goalkeeper Scott Fox is suspended after being sent off last week, while defender Jordan McMillan misses out with a hamstring injury and midfielder Sean Welsh is still out as he battles a long-term groin problem.
Midfielder Jon Routledge is Hamilton's only absentee - the midfielder has recovered from his knee injury but is still building up fitness. Forward Louis Longridge has trained all week after recovering from a dislocated toe while player/boss Alex Neil has recovered from a knock.
Last season: No corresponding fixture
Last five league matches: Partick D W L W D; Hamilton L W L W W
Top scorers (all competitions): Gary Fraser (Partick) 2; Alister Crawford (Hamilton), Dougie Imrie, Louis Longridge & Darian Mackinnon 1
Match odds: H 21-20 A 13-5 D 12-5
Referee: Kevin Clancy (Scotland)
Midfielder Simon Lappin could make his St Johnstone debut after signing on Thursday. Dave Mackay is available after his red card against Celtic was rescinded. Midfielder Murray Davidson is still working on his fitness following knee surgery.
Dons midfielder Jeffrey Monakana has a minor infection in his lower back but he should be available again next week. Skipper Russell Anderson returns after missing the match at Kilmarnock due to the artificial pitch at Rugby Park, while Clark Robertson is closer to seeing some action after stepping up his fitness levels following knee surgery.
Last season: Aberdeen 1 St Johnstone 1, Aberdeen 1 St Johnstone 0, St Johnstone 0 Aberdeen 2, Aberdeen 0 St Johnstone 0
Last five league matches: St Johnstone D L W L L; Aberdeen L W L L W
Top scorers (all competitions): David Mackay, Steven MacLean & Michael O'Halloran (St Johnstone) 1; Peter Pawlett (Aberdeen) 2 Match odds: H 2-1 A 29-20 D 21-10
Match odds: H 2-1 A 29-20 D 21-10
Referee: Craig Thomson (Scotland)
St Mirren could hand debuts to on-loan Manchester City winger Adam Drury and former Aberdeen midfielder Isaac Osbourne. Jim Goodwin is available after suspension and Steven Thompson could make his first appearance of the season after a groin strain.
Dundee captain Kevin Thomson continues his recovery from a calf injury but striker Luka Tankulic has a slight back problem which he hopes to shake off in time. Defender Willie Dyer (knee) is 50-50 while striker Phil Roberts serves the last match of his four-game ban.
Last season: No corresponding fixture
Last five league matches: St Mirren W L D L L; Dundee W W D D D
Top scorers (all competitions): Simon Ferry, Gary Harkins, Peter MacDonald, Greg Stewart, Luka Tankulic & Craig Wighton (Dundee) 1
Match odds: H 6-4 A 19-10 D 11-5
Referee: John Beaton (Scotland)