Scottish Premiership briefing

  • Last Updated: August 30 2013, 18:25 BST

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

Lionel Ainsworth: Set for Motherwell debut

Saturday, August 31

Aberdeen v St Johnstone

Aberdeen have lost three players for their home fixture as midfielder Willo Flood (hamstring), forward Josh Magennis (shoulder) and winger Jonny Hayes (concussion) all drop out of the squad. Midfielders Barry Robson and Chris Clark remain on the sidelines as they continue to recover from knee injuries.

St Johnstone have no fresh injury concerns. Goalkeeper Alan Mannus remains out with a shoulder injury, and midfielder David Robertson is set for action in the under-20s next week as he continues his return from a broken leg.

Last season: St Johnstone 3 Aberdeen 1, Aberdeen 2 St Johnstone 0, St Johnstone 1 Aberdeen 2

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

Top scorers: Niall McGinn (Aberdeen) 3; Stevie May (St Johnstone) 3

Referee: Steven McLean

Our verdict: Aberdeen 1 St Johnstone 1

  • Scottish Premier
Team Versus Team
Dundee Utd v Celtic
Aberdeen v St J'stone
Hibernian v Ross Co
St Mirren v Partick
Inverness v Hearts
Motherwell v Kilmarnock

Dundee United v Celtic

Dundee United defender Gavin Gunning returns from suspension, and winger Ryan Dow is expected to be fit after missing the League Cup win at Dumbarton with a groin strain. Manager Jackie McNamara could make changes after resting the likes of Stuart Armstrong and Gary Mackay-Steven against Dumbarton.

Celtic new boy Nir Biton will go straight into the squad for the trip to Tannadice. The 21-year-old Israel midfielder signed from FC Ashdod on Friday. His fellow countryman Beram Kayal is still ruled out of action owing to a groin injury.

Last season: Dundee United 0 Celtic 4, Celtic 6 Dundee United 2, Celtic 4 Dundee United 0, Dundee United 2 Celtic 2

Last five league matches: Dundee United L D L D W; Celtic W W W W D

Top scorers: Stuart Armstrong & Nadir Ciftci (Dundee United) 2; James Forrest, Georgios Samaras & Kris Commons (Celtic) 3

Referee: Crawford Allan

Our verdict: Dundee United 1 Celtic 2

  • Scottish Premier
Position Player Score
1 Inverness 10
2 Celtic 7
3 St J'stone 7
4 Aberdeen 6
5 Motherwell 6
6 Dundee Utd 5
7 Partick 5
8 Hibernian 4
9 Ross Co 3
10 Kilmarnock 2
11 St Mirren 1
12 Hearts -23

Hibernian v Ross County

Hibernian look set to be boosted by the return of midfielder Scott Robertson who missed the win against Kilmarnock with a knock. Fellow midfielder Kevin Thomson is still suspended. Alex Harris, Paul Cairney, Tim Clancy and James McPake remain on the sidelines.

Ross County manager Derek Adams can name an unchanged squad. He has an injury concern over Alex Cooper but the young midfielder has not featured in recent weeks. The County boss could make changes to his starting line-up following the League Cup defeat at Stranraer.

Last season: Ross County 1 Hibernian 0, Hibernian 0 Ross County 1, Ross County 3 Hibernian 2

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

Top scorers: Liam Craig (Hibernian) 2; Richard Brittain (Ross County) 3

Referee: Iain Brines

Our verdict: Hibernian 2 Ross County 0

Inverness v Hearts

Marley Watkins is ruled out of the Inverness squad for the home fixture with Hearts. The wide midfielder has rolled his ankle and will be out of action for two weeks. The league leaders otherwise have a full squad available.

Hearts manager Gary Locke is hoping goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald will shrug off an ankle injury in time to play. MacDonald sustained the injury during the League Cup win over Raith Rovers on Tuesday. Captain Danny Wilson and defender Kevin McHattie are both suspended.

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

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

Top scorers: Billy McKay (Inverness CT) 3; Jamie Walker (Hearts) 2

Referee: John Beaton

Our verdict: Inverness 1 Hearts 1

Motherwell v Kilmarnock

Motherwell boss Stuart McCall could give new signing Lionel Ainsworth his first run-out. The 25-year-old Rotherham winger - signed on a six-month loan - is included in the squad for the visit of Allan Johnston's Kilmarnock side. McCall, meanwhile, has given the rest of his group a clean bill of health.

Kilmarnock boss Johnston welcomes back striker Kris Boyd, after the former Scotland international served a two-game ban for aiming a punch at St Mirren's Jim Goodwin. Johnston has refused to name the two players within his squad who are injury concerns ahead of the match.

Last season: Kilmarnock 2 Motherwell 0, Motherwell 2 Kilmarnock 2, Kilmarnock 1 Motherwell 2

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

Top scorers: Henri Anier (Motherwell) 2; Kris Boyd (Kilmarnock) 2

Referee: Craig Charleston

Our verdict: Motherwell 2 Kilmarnock 1

St Mirren v Partick Thistle

St Mirren boss Danny Lennon could give new signings Jake Caprice and Stephane Bahoken their first Scottish Premiership appearances. Blackpool winger Caprice and Nice striker Bahoken have joined on loan and feature in Lennon's squad. Midfielder Jon Robertson has left the club to rejoin Cowdenbeath.

Sean Welsh is rated doubtful for Partick. The midfielder is still struggling with a dead leg. Defender Aaron Taylor-Sinclair is also unlikely to be involved due to a calf complaint.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers: Steven Thompson & Gary Harkins (St Mirren) 1; Steven Lawless (Partick) 3

Referee: Willie Collum

Our verdict: St Mirren 1 Partick Thistle 2

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