Scottish Premiership briefing

  • Last Updated: February 21 2014, 14:54 GMT

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

Gary Teale: Misses out for St Mirren
Gary Teale: Misses out for St Mirren

Saturday, February 22

Hearts v Celtic

Hearts manager Gary Locke welcomes Jason Holt back into first-team consideration after the midfielder missed three months with a broken metatarsal. Kevin McHattie and Callum Paterson are also back following suspension, but Callum Tapping and David Smith remain sidelined with knee injuries and Locke is unsure whether midfielder Jamie Walker (foot) will feature again this season.

Charlie Mulgrew will return for Celtic after missing two matches with a calf knock but Emilio Izaguirre is struggling after limping off with a knock against St Johnstone on Sunday and James Forrest remains absent. Long-term absentees Mikael Lustig (hip), Beram Kayal (foot) and Steven Mouyokolo (Achilles) remain out.

Last season: Celtic 4 Hearts 1, Hearts 0 Celtic 4, Celtic 1 Hearts 0

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

Top scorers: Jamie Hamill (Hearts) 7; Kris Commons (Celtic) 22

Referee: Kevin Clancy (Scotland).

Our verdict: Hearts 0 Celtic 3

Kilmarnock v Hibernian

Kilmarnock have close to a full squad with Michael Gardyne returning after missing the game against parent club Dundee United and Sean Clohessy back from an ankle injury. Long-term absentee Darren Barr (hip) is the only player missing but left-back Rory McKeown this week joined James Fowler on loan at Cowdenbeath.

Hibernian captain Liam Craig returns from suspension but fellow midfielders Scott Robertson (knee) and Owain Tudur Jones (hamstring) remain on the sidelines. On-loan Sunderland winger Duncan Watmore is expected to overcome a knock and Kevin Thomson has recovered from injury but is short of match fitness.

Last season: Kilmarnock 1 Hibernian 3, Hibernian 2 Kilmarnock 2, Kilmarnock 1 Hibernian 1, Hibernian 2 Kilmarnock 1

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

Top scorers: Kris Boyd (Kilmarnock) 16; Liam Craig (Hibernian) 9

Referee: Craig Thomson (Scotland)

Our verdict: Kilmarnock 2 Hibernian 1

Partick v Aberdeen

Partick defender Aaron Muirhead is a doubt for the visit of the Dons with a knock but manager Alan Archibald is hopeful he will make the game while long-term absentees Isaac Osbourne (ankle) and Sean Welsh (groin) miss out again.

Aberdeen have Barry Robson and Jonny Hayes available after they both returned to training but Clark Robertson (knee) and Ryan Jack (hip) remain on the sidelines.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

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

Top scorers: Kris Doolan (Partick) 7; Adam Rooney (Aberdeen) 11

Referee: Alan Muir (Scotland)

Our verdict: Partick 0 Aberdeen 2

Ross County v St Mirren

Filip Kiss returns from suspension for the Staggies while defender Steven Saunders (hamstring) and winger Melvin de Leeuw (knee) are both back in contention. However, striker Kevin Luckassen has flown to the Czech Republic to tie up a move to Slovan Liberec.

St Mirren will be without Gary Teale after he suffered a setback following his return from a long-term groin injury. David van Zanten is a doubt with a knock but Marc McAusland and Josh Magennis both return after being ineligible for the defeat by Aberdeen.

Last season: St Mirren 1 Ross County 4, Ross County 0 St Mirren 0, St Mirren 5 Ross County 4

Last five league matches: Ross County D W L D L; St Mirren W D L L L

Top scorers: Yoann Arquin (Ross County) 6; Steven Thompson (St Mirren) 12

Referee: William Collum (Scotland)

Our verdict: Ross County 1 St Mirren 0

St Johnstone v Inverness

Defender Frazer Wright returns from suspension for St Johnstone while Steven MacLean has fully recovered from his knee injury but is short of match sharpness. Midfielder Murray Davidson (knee) is out for the season.

Inverness manager John Hughes has a fully-fit squad which presents him with selection dilemmas after captain Richie Foran made his first start in two months and the recalled Nick Ross scored during the midweek cup win over Stranraer.

Last season: St Johnstone 1 Inverness CT 0, Inverness CT 0 St Johnstone 0, St Johnstone 0 Inverness CT 0, Inverness CT 1 St Johnstone 1

Last five league matches: St Johnstone L W D W L; Inverness CT L D W L D

Top scorers: Stevie May (St Johnstone) 21; Billy McKay (Inverness CT) 19

Referee: Euan Norris (Scotland)

Our verdict: St Johnstone 2 Inverness 1

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