Saturday, November 27, 2010

SPL Preview: League of Nations


So as things stand we’ve got a full SPL fixture list this weekend.

Foreign referees. Who will be great and prove that we can live without our Scottish numpties. Or be human, make mistakes, and have a whole heap of shit poured over their heads. We’ll see.

Luxembourg
Alain Hamer draws the shortest of straws as he takes charge of both Old Firm games. Unlikely to come under much scrutiny.

Celtic v Inverness
Inverness set out to preserve their fine away record at Celtic Park. Not an easy task. The draw with Rangers at Ibrox is proof that the Highlanders are made of stern stuff though. And Celtic’s last gasp win over St Mirren has been sandwiched between a defeat at Hearts and a draw with Dundee United at home. All to play for Caley.

Draw.

Dundee United v Rangers
United can be proud of their point at Celtic last time out and will be looking to get something from a Rangers team coming off Wednesday’s match with Manchester United. Rangers have injury concerns and were made to work against Kilmarnock last Saturday. I’ve got a feeling the league leaders will manage to see this one out though.

Away win.

- The Record reports that Alain Hamer is available because Luxembourg’s officials are involved in their own strike, refusing to referee games involving FC Wiltz and FC Canach. This is a neverending story.

Malta
Christian Lautier dodges the glamour tie that was Beith v Airdrie thanks to the snow. Instead he’s heading to a cold, cold Leith. Scotland's Morag Pirie is fourth official. She's a lady. Expect every comedian in the crowd to have something to say about that. Yawn.

Hibs v St Johnstone
After the optimism of two wins, Hibs crashed back to earth with their now traditional defeat at Inverness last week. Not that Colin Calderwood will have needed any convincing that his side are very much a work in progress. St Johnstone’s own trip up north was happier with a welcome win over Aberdeen. Tight one at Easter Road I think.

Draw.

Israel
Meir Levy gets to sample the delights of both Hamilton and Motherwell in a weekend double header that is probably not advertised on the VisitScotland website. Eli Hacmon completes the SPL card at Kilmarnock.

Hamilton v St Mirren
These are the games that Hamilton need to win if they are to drag themselves from the bottom of the league. They are also the games St Mirren need to win if they are to prove the doubters wrong and stay free from trouble. So a big match for both sides. I fancy St Mirren to pile on the misery for the Accies though.

Away win

Kilmarnock v Aberdeen
Mark McGhee admits he’s not looking for an open game here. Good of him to sell the game to the fans so enthusiastically. Understandable though given his predicament and the form of the home side. Can Aberdeen stop Killie from scoring? Probably not. More pain for McGhee.

Home win

Motherwell v Hearts
Third play fifth with only three points separating them. Should be a good game. I’ve got a feeling Hearts are on a bit of a roll now though. A win here and they can start to make third place their own. It’s up to Motherwell to stop them but that won’t be easy. Motherwell v Hearts, Brown v Jefferies. Intriguing prospect.

Away win